The breakfast club

At a time of great uncertainty, it has never been more important for consumers to start the day right with a healthy, nutrition-packed breakfast. This month, Julia O’Reilly reports on the top offerings from brands that tie in perfectly with the latest consumer trends


Brand Central

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25 September 2020

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Breakfast has long been heralded as the most important meal of the day. As such, it’s no surprise that when it comes to breakfast foods, Irish consumers see health and nutrition as chief concerns.

While demand for nutritiously healthy foods such as muesli and granola have grown in recent years, cereal remains the most dynamic product type in the category. In part, it is the versatility of cereal that is behind this growth, as various demographics turn to the product type to meet their specific needs.

Health and wellness trends have made their mark on cereal. Consumers often seek out certain nutritional benefits from breakfast cereals or look for products that are suitable for their dietary requirements. This comes from Euromonitor Ireland’s latest report on the category, entitled ‘Breakfast Cereals in Ireland’, published in November of last year.

When it comes to options for children, parents are now more clued into health and wellness than ever before, meaning healthy formulations are key. According to a Euromonitor report from 2018, as parents become more conscious about their children’s diets, 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.

That’s not to say that consumers aren’t interested in indulgence. Indeed, a Mintel report titled ‘The Future of Breakfast Cereals: 2020’, noted that there has been serious innovation within the cereal category, as brands turn to unique colours, shapes and flavours for consumers looking to treat themselves. Given the level of competition within the category, Mintel noted that providing an exciting product is becoming more and more important for brands. Ultimately, these opposing trends have led to brands attempting to find the right balance of health and indulgence.

Mintel added that in the long-run, the trends to watch include gut wellness, and sustainability, which it said is changing to encompass the entire product lifecycle – from sourcing to disposal.

Gut for you!

Latest innovation from Glenisk is high in protein, a source of fibre, high in Vitamin D, gluten free, contains 0% fat, and has no added sugar

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and now there is even more choice when it comes to healthy options with the launch of the new Quark range from yogurt brand, Glenisk.

This latest innovation from Glenisk offers a range of thick and creamy strained yogurt that is high in protein, contains 0% fat, no added sugar, a source of fibre, high in Vitamin D, and is gluten free. Through its unique blend of ingredients and the help of the bacteria strain Lactobacillus Rhamnoses, Glenisk’s Quark range also supports gut health – a growing concern among consumers amid the continued demand for functional health foods – and will help support continued growth of the brand and wider category.

The Quark range is available in 150g and multipack 4x100g formats, with four flavours: Perfect Peach, Mango & Passionfruit, Coconut & Vanilla and Luscious Mixed Berry. The low-calorie range, with just 53-56 calories per 100g, is currently stocked in retailers nationwide.

This no-added-sugar Quark range was launched with an exclusive partnership with Kathryn Thomas and Pure Results, offering customers the chance to win a range of exclusive fitness prizes with Ireland’s Premier Health & Fitness Retreats.

Morning refresh!

Tropicana’s delicious and nutritious array of 100% fruit juices continues to refresh Irish consumers every morning whilst offering them an easy and convenient way to consume one of their five a day. Packed with vitamin C, Tropicana also helps to contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Louise Priestman from PepsiCo Ireland said: “We know that life can be extremely busy, so much so, we often struggle to stay on top of a healthy lifestyle! However, at Tropicana we’re all about making the most of your mornings by including our great tasting 100% fruit juices as part of the breakfast occasion.”

Earlier this year Tropicana sponsored ‘This Morning’ on Virgin Media – a four-month sponsorship to help brighten up consumers’ mornings whilst they were breakfasting at home. Later into the summer Tropicana also activated a large scale on pack promotional campaign offering consumers a chance to win €10,000. This campaign was supported with TV, digital and in-store point of sale.

Priestman added: “As we look ahead to the Christmas period, we are really looking forward to seeing the launch of our Christmas festive packs on retailers’ shelves across the country.”

Making progress

Flahavan’s Progress Oatlets experienced strong growth in the first half of 2020

Flahavan’s, Ireland’s favourite porridge brand, has continued to maintain its market leadership position in the hot oats category in 2020, with over 56%* market share – a testament to its consistent quality, strong brand communications strategy and the loyalty of its consumer base.

Traditional porridge remains at the heart of the company’s business in Ireland, with Progress Oatlets and Organic Porridge experiencing the strongest growth in the first half of 2020 as a result of shifting consumer habits, including a rise in home baking as well as more time spent at the breakfast table as working from home became the new normal.  Larger bag formats recorded strong growth as consumers moved to purchasing larger pack sizes during their less frequent shopping trips.

With its 235-year oat-milling heritage, its commitment to local sourcing and its strong family values under-pins everything it does. According to Kantar, Irish consumers demonstrated a strong preference toward trusted brands during Q2 2020, with branded products recording 33% growth** during this period versus 17% uplift in private label sales. It is clear that during times of crisis, consumers rely on well-known local brands to deliver consistent quality.

Health remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds when making choices around breakfast and Flahavan’s continues to stay close to consumers through ongoing research to help understand their changing needs.  As a result, the company expanded it’s no added sugar Hi8 Muesli range to include Date & Coconut in 2019 and while the new variant continues to gain traction with consumers, Hi8 Original out-performs all other competitor muesli products in multiple retailers.

Flahavan’s is committed to innovating and expanding its range in 2020 to offer more variety to health-conscious consumers seeking to reduce their sugar consumption. Its new range of no added sugar, vegan-friendly Oat Drinks launched in August 2020 and sees the brand move into the new plant-based drinks category. As oat experts, the move into this new market represents a natural step for a brand with such established heritage and oat-milling expertise. The three new varieties include Vitamin Rich, Organic and Barista and are targeted at younger audiences choosing plant-based products for lifestyle and dietary reasons.

*(Source: Kantar Market Data, 52 Weeks to 14 June 2020)

**(Source: Kantar, FMCG Panel, 12 week – June 2020)

Slice of life

Bigger is better at Irish Pride. Available in 800g and 400g, Irish Pride Big Toast is an extra thick white sliced bread that is perfect for breakfast, lunch or as a tasty snack.

Irish Pride offers its customers versatility when it comes to flavour, health and choice. Consumers can enjoy extra crunch in their toast with its delicious healthy grain bread. Packed full of goodness with a wonderfully malty taste, its unique linseed and kibbled wheat recipe brings something different. This bread is also cut thicker to provide a perfect crunch. More health-conscious consumers can enjoy Irish Pride’s multigrain big toast with all the goodness in taste and the extra added value of vitamins and minerals that the grains bring.

For recipes, visit

So fresh it’s famous

Pat The Baker is offering consumers an abundance of taste and extra bite at breakfast time with Pats Toasty. For those looking for something different, Pat the Baker have a range of morning goods freshly baked every day. Try its Potato Farls, which are made the old-fashioned way, topped off with a poached egg. For a real treat, its mini pancakes can be toasted and served with maple syrup with a side of fruit. Its baked scones are ready to eat hot or cold, and can topped off with butter and jam for a classic breakfast. For all additional products visit

The ultimate full Irish

Rudd’s specialises in premium Irish pork products

Rudd’s is best known for its dry cured rashers, peppery-soft puddings and scrumptious sausages all made to traditional farmhouse recipes. That’s why a Rudd’s Fry-Up is a must have for a weekend family treat.

Rudd’s is always bringing out new and exciting product such as there all new Rudd’s BBQ flavour sausage with 80% Irish pork content, last year’s much-loved chorizo white pudding and its pudding roulades in recent years. What’s more, Rudd’s shows no sign of stopping with many exciting product innovations to be launched in the coming months. One thing is guaranteed, no matter the mealtime, you can always be sure that ‘Great Meals Start With Rudd’s’.

The Irish brand specialises in the production of pork products and prides itself on being Ireland’s premium Bord Bia approved breakfast meats brand. Rudd’s was born in the historic town of Birr in 1973 and remains there to this day.

Creating unique breakfasts

The cereal category is worth £77 million in the UK’s total impulse category, up 15% year on year*. Convenience stores have played an incredibly important part in people’s lives since lockdown and this boost looks likely to continue. Having a well-stocked breakfast category with all the core and top-selling cereal brands has never been more important as people look to purchase more day-to-day items from their local stores.

Weetabix has invested a significant amount in researching the breakfast opportunity during the lockdown period. Breakfasts at home have clearly become the norm during this period – 98% of breakfasts are now in the home** and cereal has been the real winner, firmly establishing itself as the breakfast product of choice, while other categories have remained flat.

People have had more time in the mornings to create a more unique breakfast, but consumers are still looking for a convenient starting point, which is why cereal has been so popular.

Cereal brands have done really well during this period suggesting people were looking for familiar products during a period of uncertainty. Weetabix Original has performed well (+1.8m year-on-year***) and sales for Weetabix Minis Chocolate have risen 44%****.

“Even with lockdown easing, people’s work routines have changed,” says Darryl Burgess, head of sales, Weetabix. “More people are now expecting to spend more time at home – as a result we expect cereal sales to remain strong in the months ahead.

“Consumers have returned to cereal because of its versatility – it’s quick and convenient but can also be personalised with additional toppings and different milks, which taps into the trend for personalised breakfasts,” adds Burgess. “That’s why we’re giving our Any-Which-Way-A-Bix campaign a boost as we look towards the back to school period, as part of our £11 million marketing investment.”

Younger people have also returned to the breakfast table, with a 2.8% increase in cereal consumption compared to 2019.***** A recent study has found that younger people have found the lockdown has helped them reconnect with their family as the cook and enjoy more mealtimes together – and that they wish to continue this going forward******.

*(Source: Total Impulse, Nielsen 52 we 13 June 2020)

**(Source: Dipsticks Consumption Tracker. Sample size 1,000 per wave / *Includes Muesli & Granola)

***(Source: Nielsen 12 w/e data 13th June 2020 / *Kantar 12 w/e data to 14 June 2020)

****(Source: Kantar Worldpanel to 14 June 2020)

*****(Source: Dipsticks Consumption Tracker 2019 vs 12 weeks Lockdown end March to June 2020)

******(Source: Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity and the Bite Back 2030 healthy eating charity, studied over 1,000 14-19 yrs)

Stocking the top-selling products

Weetabix is still the UK’s number one breakfast cereal brand* and a must stock for retailers, offering a nutritious choice to start the day. Weetabix Original is and will always be, a low sugar cereal, and the brand has all green traffic lights on pack to make it easy for shoppers to make a healthy choice. Personalisation of cereals is a growing trend and something Weetabix has tapped into with its Any-Which-Way-A-Bix campaign, which encourages consumers to share their unique Weetabix creations. Stocking dried fruit toppings and different milks near the cereal aisle is a great way to encourage this personalisation and boost basket spend.

Ready Brek is now a £10 million brand and is celebrating a phenomenal period – it’s the fastest growing product in the cereal category – a must-stock for retailers’ breakfast shelves and can now be found in over two million households nationwide**.

The brand also advises retailers to stock Alpen, the UK’s number one muesli brand, with the Alpen brand worth over £60 million. To ensure Alpen’s health credentials are front of mind, the brand has recently had a pack refresh to highlight important nutritional messaging.

Don’t forget Weetabix Crispy Minis, which have recently been reformulated to reduce sugar, as well as Weetabix Chocolate and Weetos. Another key product, especially with taste and chocolate being big drivers of consumption at breakfast time.

Breakfast drink Weetabix On The Go should also be included as part of the core breakfast collection, according to the brand – these can be stocked in the chiller to increase your offering for the on the move meal occasion, as well as ambient for shoppers looking to pick up a product to consume at a future breakfast occasion.

Merchandising advice

Retailers should ensure they’re stocking a variety of products, focused on a core range of best-sellers. Weetabix states it always work closely with retailers to ensure that the brand’s product range works for them – this includes different pack sizes and price marked packs. PMPs are a major growth area for convenience stores, as consumers increasingly looking for reassurance on value. The Weetabix PMP range covers a range of SKUs across our cereal and drinks portfolio, at a range of price points. “We work hard to ensure that our price marked packs offer competitive shared margins,” says Burgess.

Weetabix On The Go, the UK’s number one breakfast drink, can be stored in both the ambient and chilled departments and the brand believes there is a huge opportunity to grow the breakfast drink market by improving visibility in-store. Weetabix recommends that singles are stocked in the chiller section to cater for the ‘buy now – eat now’ consumers, while multipacks are great for the ‘planners’ – those who might be buying for the week ahead.

*(Source: Nielsen data to 30 November 2019)

**(Source: Kantar 52 we 11.09.19)



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