Category Focus: Bowled over by breakfast!

Health remains a key concern for consumers in 2019, with health categories growing faster (+5.3%) than other FMCG categories (3.5%) according to Nielsen data. This is clearly evident within the breakfast category where getting the best, most nutritious start to the day possible is of chief concern


Brand Central

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15 August 2019

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As the Instagram feed of any foodie worth their salt quickly demonstrates, health is key when it comes to breakfast – with options such as granolas and mueslis increasingly leading the way. This is corroborated by Euromonitor Ireland’s latest report on the category, entitled ‘Breakfast Cereals in Ireland’, published in November of last year.

Euromonitor reports that with new product developments responding to increasing demand for nutritiously healthy food, muesli and granola has been the most dynamic product type among breakfast cereals. However, the analyst also notes cereals are still the first choice for breakfast for those who seek convenient food that does not require much effort or time but is still suitable for a healthy diet.

When it comes to options for children moreover, parents are more switched on than ever and healthy formulations are therefore key. According to Euromonitor, as parents become more conscious about their children’s diet, especially with child obesity being on the rise, children’s breakfast cereals is one product type that is under scrutiny. The levels of ingredients such as sugar, salt and fat in products which target children specifically are being watched closely by parents to make sure that the products comply with the diets they apply to their children.

Meanwhile, private label has increased its share of breakfast cereals by offering products that are not only good value but also rich in nutrients, Euromonitor continues. By expanding in free from and fortified/functional products over the review period, private label increased its presence within breakfast cereals. Another key trend observed by the analyst is that hot cereals are growing in terms of demand, in parallel with the increasing trend towards a healthy eating lifestyle.

Generational shift

Overall, breakfast remains on the menu for nearly everyone, eaten by around 95% of Irish consumers, according to a recent Mintel report, entitled ‘Breakfast Ireland October 2018’. However, signs are pointing towards a generational shift in breakfast eating habits. The older generations eat breakfast at home every day and also have a lower repertoire of foods eaten, Mintel reports. Traditional breakfast patterns clearly remain prevalent among older consumers with favourites such as cereal and porridge.

In contrast, more fragmented routines appear to be taking root among the younger generations. According to Mintel, they are more likely to eat breakfast out of home with a propensity to snack, seeing them graze on smaller breakfast items throughout the morning rather than eating one big breakfast. However, with increasing health concerns shedding light on the sugar content of cereals, cereal bars and other breakfast foods, brands are being forced to reconsider their products’ nutritional value.

Emma McGeown, a Mintel analyst in the food & drink sector, says the new shift provides opportunities for the quick-service sector. “Despite being touted as the most important meal of the day,” says McGeown, “the majority of Irish consumers are making time to eat breakfast but not every day. Product innovation paired with consumers’ increasingly busy schedules is causing some to switch to snacking for this occasion – offering opportunities to brands and the quick-service industry.”

Try me free!

Kellogg’s is shaking up the breakfast category with a new granola range named after company founder W.K. Kellogg, which consumers are encouraged to check out through ‘Try me free’ activity.

All W.K. Kellogg granolas have ‘no added sugar’; an important attribute for the brand’s target audience, health-conscious ABC1 adults; aware of what they eat and actively seeking out low sugar/no sugar products. Aged 25 to 45 years-old, this target demographic is keen to cook from scratch, and conscientious about reading ingredient lists, making W.K Kellogg an ideal breakfast choice for them due to the range’s strong health credentials.

W.K. Kellogg is 100% plantbased and contains naturally occurring sugars only, so the company is subsequently advising consumers, “don’t be shy and give it a try for free!” An appetising range of four flavours is another incentive to try the new granola, which includes Coconut Cashew Almond; Simply Granola; Cocoa Hazelnut; and Raspberry, Apple and Carrot (Fruit & Veg) variants.

From this month onwards, promotional packs will be available in-store with a ‘Try me free’ sticker on-pack*. All consumers need to do is hold on to their receipt and follow the instructions on-pack to claim their money back, which involves uploading a picture of their receipt onto the website shown.

In terms of those all-important nutrition credentials, all four flavours contain no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, but naturally occurring sugars only. Even the Cocoa Hazelnut variant is ‘no added sugar’, which is ideal for consumers who want a great chocolatey taste without sugar. The four variants, of which Coconut Cashew Almond is the top-seller, are vegan, high in fibre and palm oil free, with no use of artificial colours or flavours.

What’s more, for every W.K. Kellogg pack sold, the company will make a donation of 10p/10c per pack to projects that promote sustainable agriculture and provide breakfast for those in need. To find out more about this initiative, visit

Overall, the new brand is a fitting one for the Kellogg’s portfolio, given its founder’s ethos. W.K Kellogg believed in making a healthy lifestyle available to everyone and that plant-based foods are the future. He was vegan himself and promoted a plant-based lifestyle.

*(T&Cs: Purchase and claim required. UK mainland, ROI and NI only. 18+. Retain dated, itemised till receipt. Purchase a promotional pack from 28.08.19 – 08.10.19. Claim by 15.11.19 Max. refund £3.99/€4.48. 1 single product refund claim per bank account. To claim and full T&Cs, visit

Best of both worlds

At Hovis, expert bakers have been baking bread for 130 years, so they know a thing or two about making a great-tasting loaf.

Hovis Best of Both combines the great taste of white bread with twice the wheatgerm of wholemeal bread and is also rich in calcium. This loaf really is the ‘best of both’ according to the brand, ensuring a great taste consistently with every slice.

While it is enjoyed by many, kids across Ireland especially love this loaf and as well as providing lovely, buttery toast at breakfast, it is ideal for the school lunchbox sandwich. With back to school coming fast around the corner, Hovis Best of Both is a must for the breaktime or lunchbox this September, whether filled with ham and cheese or even a more adventurous crisp and tomato ketchup sandwich; kids today are becoming very discerning with their sandwich fillers!

Hovis Best of Both (750g) is available in Medium and Thick formats and is baked every day on the island of Ireland. It is stocked in Tesco Ireland stores.

Champion expansion

Cork-based Velo Coffee Roasters is making waves in the market and recently opened a new coffee roasting warehouse. The new facility is a direct result of the brand’s nationwide retail listing in Aldi’s 139 stores nationwide. In fact, the deal has created three full-time jobs as well as two work placements on the Cope Foundation’s Ability@Work project.

Olympic silver medallist, world champion and much more importantly coffee aficionado, Gary O’Donovan, officially opened the new coffee roasting facility and warehouse in the ‘Northside for Business’ Campus in Ballyvolane, Cork.

Following the ‘Grow with Aldi’ promotion, Velo Coffee Roasters, along with four other Irish producers, was given a one-year full listing with Aldi which began in January 2019, supporting the expansion to the purpose-built roasting and packing facility.

Welcoming the Aldi listing and his business expansion, Rob Horgan from Velo Coffee Roasters praises the retailer’s approach. “The support and mentoring offered by Grow with Aldi has already benefitted our business immensely,” he says, “and we are excited to see our product made available to Aldi shoppers across the country. We believe we offer something truly unique and are thankful to Aldi for giving us the opportunity to share it.”

Velo Coffee Roasters visited a number of green bean merchants before selecting its preferred supplier based on the quality, provenance and traceability of its bean and passion for great coffee.

“If we don’t start with the best raw materials, we can’t provide you with the best coffee,” adds Horgan, “and we are delighted that we are sharing our locally hand roasted coffee on Aldi shelves nationwide.”

“We have always taken great pride in our Irish sourcing and our support of Irish food and drink companies, having developed long-term partnerships with over 175 Irish suppliers throughout the country,” says John Curtin, group buying director, Aldi Ireland. “For small Irish food and drinks businesses, securing a listing can be a challenging undertaking,” he adds. “Our Grow with Aldi programme supports producers getting their products on our shelves and gives our customers access to the best quality new products from across the country.”

The Grow with Aldi Programme has invested over €1 million in small Irish suppliers, with the 2019 winners due to be announced on Tuesday, 17 September at the National Ploughing Championships. The awarding of the new contract to the Cork firm came just as data from Core Research found that buying Irish was more important than ever to consumers. The new study showed 78% of Irish shoppers would choose an Irishmade product over a similar imported option.

Alive with energy

Activia’s new range of Live Culture Smoothies is the latest product to showcase the brand’s passion to support gut health*. The launch represents a significant step for Activia, with the brand entering into both a new category and shelf position.

Each tasty bottle is a source of calcium, and contains billions of live cultures within the Activia yogurt included. Providing a source of protein and fibre, with no added sugar**, each bottle delivers the added benefit of forming one of an individual’s five a day.

Activia Live Culture Smoothies will launch in two tasty flavours, which both serve up a tasty blend of fruit, yogurt and veg. These include the Orange Fruit & Veg variant; a blend of Activia yogurt with mango, peach, carrot, date and linseed.

Meanwhile, the Red Fruit & Veg variant provides a blend of Activia yogurt with strawberry, blueberry, beetroot, pomegranate, persimmon and chia seeds. Each has an RRP of €1.99.***

*(Activia contains calcium which contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes. Enjoy as part of a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle)

**(Contains naturally occurring sugars)

***(RRP is at the discretion of individual retailers)

Any way you want!

For over 80 years, the Weetabix Food Company has made high quality cereals in Ireland and Britain. Whatever their tastes, Weetabix ensures consumers can start the day with a tasty breakfast.

Home to some of Britain and Ireland’s most famous and iconic brands, Weetabix Food Company’s portfolio includes Weetabix, Weetabix Minis, Alpen, Weetabix On The Go Breakfast Drink, Ready Brek, Weetos and the popular Alpen bars.

Weetabix products help people get the best out of their day with the Weetabix Advantage, and with all-green traffic lights on Weetabix Original, which is naturally low in sugar, salt and fat. What’s more, with 100% wholegrain wheat, Weetabix is a great way to get more fibre every day.

In January 2019, Weetabix launched its annual disruptive campaign, extending the famous ‘Have You Had Your Weetabix?’ campaign into an activation that aims to drive strong sales and category value. The ‘Any-WhichWay-A-Bix’ campaign features an on-pack promotion which will be activated in-store again during the back to school period, ensuring consumers have had their Weetabix to start their day.

With 130 million bowls of Weetabix personalised “their way” by consumers each year, the Any-Which-Way-A-Bix campaign taps into the mass trend for customising food and aims to celebrate all the unique ways Irish people enjoy their Weetabix with fun and playful recipe inspiration on TV, on-pack, online and in-store.

“With taste the most important aspect when it comes to choosing foods to buy, we know that people all over the UK and Ireland are personalising their morning breakfast bowl with different fruits, nuts, yoghurts, milks and many more exciting options,” says Torben Sherwood, senior brand manager, Weetabix.

“As the number one breakfast brand, Weetabix is perfectly placed to celebrate this trend,” he adds, “inspiring more people to start their day ‘Any-WhichWay-A-Bix’ they like. By tapping into this trend, we’re confident we’ll drive further love of the Weetabix brand, drive value in the cereal category and across other ‘topper’ categories such as fruit and yogurt.”

Consumers will be encouraged to share their breakfast creations on social media using the campaign hashtags: #AnyWhichWayABix and #HaveYouHadYourWeetabix?


A lighter ‘all day’ granola

Homespun’s Quinoa Crunch offers granola with a twist. Made from organic popped quinoa, this gives it a featherlight texture. “As soon as they taste it, consumers tell us they love how light it is and how less sweet it tastes versus other products,” says Homespun founder Erica Sheehan.

Sheehan started Homespun from her kitchen in Blackrock, Dublin, initially supplying a farmers market. “People liked the taste as well as the nutritious ingredients which are naturally gluten and wheat free,” she says. This reaction gave her the confidence to launch her products into retail and so the Homespun brand was born.

Homespun has since won five Gold awards at the FreeFrom Food Awards and an Irish Quality Food Award. There are two flavours of Quinoa Crunch: Pecan and Cranberry; and Gojiberry, Cashew and Coconut (275g, €4.99) and both are listed in the health aisles of SuperValu stores. Quinoa Crunch is also available from retailers such as Avoca, Donnybrook Fair, Nourish and The Health Store.

“Last year we branched into the UK, starting with Selfridges and then launching on,” adds Sheehan. “Our products are also available on Amazon and we’re finding sales are growing, strengthened by positive reviews.”

As a granola, Quinoa Crunch would typically be associated with the breakfast occasion but Sheehan says she also notices it fulfils a snacking role.

“We see the brand being tagged in the evening on Instagram,” she notes. “People want a light tasty snack and Quinoa Crunch on yoghurt is something we see people enjoying. Consumption is not limited to breakfast.”


Compelling health benefits

Flahavan’s is Ireland’s oldest family food business, tracing its roots back seven generations to 1785 when the family began oat milling in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford. Nestled below the Comeragh Mountains, the company currently sells a range of over 40 oat-based products in 17 countries worldwide, with varying flavours and formats including Natural, Organic, Gluten Free, Multiseed, Quick Oats Pots and Sachets, Flapjacks, Muesli, Granola and Overnight Oats.

Porridge, however, remains at the heart of the company’s business in Ireland and Flahavan’s continues to be Ireland’s favourite porridge brand, growing market share in the hot oats segment to over 56% in 2019, despite a challenging 12 months in which mild weather conditions contributed to a shorter selling season for hot cereals.

Over the past two decades, Flahavan’s has pioneered a dramatic change in the way consumers think about oat-based foods and their compelling health benefits. Health remains a key concern for consumers in 2019, with health categories growing faster (+5.3%) than other FMCG categories (3.5%) according to Nielsen*. Limiting sugar is one of the key trends driving this growth, with 39% of consumers citing low/no sugar as an influencer when making purchase decisions.

While Flahavan’s traditional porridge offerings are perfectly positioned to capitalise on growing consumer demand for healthy, natural, single-ingredient products, the company continues to innovate and expand its range to cater to wider consumer trends around breakfast. As a result, Flahavan’s has recently expanded its ‘No Added Sugar’ Hi8 Muesli range to include Date & Coconut. With Hi8 Original outperforming all other competitor muesli products in multiple retailers, the new variant not only broadens the offering for health-conscious consumers seeking to reduce their sugar consumption, but also provides an exceptional taste experience with exotic ingredients.

With large bagged products still accounting for the largest share of the market, convenience formats such as drums and pots experienced the most significant growth over the past 12 months. In total, ‘convenience porridge’ now accounts for approximately a third of the overall ‘hot oats’ category. Targeted at younger audiences seeking healthy convenient breakfast solutions for busy lives, Flahavan’s Overnight Oats range has recently expanded beyond Raspberry & Apple to include a new Cranberry & Chia Seeds variant in July 2019.

With taste and nutrition at the heart of this vegan friendly range, Overnight Oats combines premium quality, locally-sourced oats, with seeds and fruits to create deliciously simple chilled breakfast offerings. As consumers’ habits around breakfast continue to shift, Flahavan’s will cater to their changing needs long into the future.

*(Source: The Importance of Healthier Options, Nielsen June 2019)

The ultimate full Irish

Often nothing is as satisfying as a tasty Irish breakfast, and the award-winning O’Neills Dry Cure Bacon Co. based in Co. Wexford, is the ‘go to brand’ to create the ultimate Irish breakfast. Dry cured by hand in the traditional way, with no added water and phosphate-free, O’Neills prides itself on producing bacon that tastes and cooks like it should.

The chosen bacon of many of the top chefs and five-star hotels in Ireland, the O’Neills range of products include Dry Cured Rashers, Streaky Rashers, Ham Fillets, Bacon Steaks, Bacon Jam and Bacon Loins. The brand also sells black and white puddings and sausages to offer the complete breakfast solution. O’Neills bacon is lower in salt and because the company doesn’t add water, no phosphates are needed. With O’Neill’s you get all meat, so when the bacon is cooking there is no shrinking on the pan. O’Neill’s Dry Cured Bacon Co. has won numerous prestigious awards including the Food Writers Guild Award, Gold at Blas na hEireann and more recently, two Gold Stars at the coveted Great Taste Awards.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding, so why not give your shoppers the opportunity to try these award-winning products for themselves at breakfast time? For more information on O’Neills products, visit





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