“Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal,” says Rebecca Black at 7 am, but increasingly, ready-to-eat cereal is taking a back seat to other breakfast choices:
Sales of ready-to-eat cereals fell 2.55% in the 52 weeks ending April 17 to $6.41 billion, according to data from Symphony/IRI which covers retail outlets such as supermarkets. Sales of cheap, private label cereals dropped 7.2% to $637.5 million during that same time frame. Sales and units shipped have been lackluster since at least 2007, predating the global recession and the recent rise in grain prices.
The alternatives have more portability and less sugar:
Cereal is under assault from many quarters. Government officials want to further restrict the use of carton characters such as Toucan Sam to sell sugary cereals because of concerns about soaring rates of childhood obesity. Companies have been reducing the amount of sugar in their products. They are also selling them in other ways such as breakfast bars, sales of which are soaring.
Of the six cereals performing the worst on the sales charts, five are from Kellogg’s, led (or trailed) by Special K, down nearly 16 percent since 2007. Also suffering: Rice Krispies, to the extent that the product is now viewed as a component of a snack food rather than as an actual breakfast cereal.