What’s For Breakfast?

cerealKellogg’s sales in India grew 31% last year to just over 500 crores. The absolute figure is not very significant considering that the 770 crore ready to eat cereal market in India is measly compared to the $10 billion ready to eat cereal market in the US.

What is important to note is this figure of $10 billion is down from $13.9 billion in 2000 and is expected to fall to $9.7 billion this year.

The decline is due to many factors but the main reason is that people are smarter about their food choices. Most of the cereal available has been high in sugar. People have woken up to the fact that sugar and refined carbohydrates are not a good way to start the day. Although healthier cereals have been introduced and heavily marketed, people are turning to other foods for breakfast. Oatmeal based foods, yogurt(dahi/curds) and breakfast bars have become popular foods to eat in the morning.

This decline is cereal sales for Kelloggs and other cereal makers such as Post and General Mills make is ever more vital to succeed in emerging economy markets. Wouldn’t it be great if our 1.2 billion population ate corn flakes every morning.

In India we prefer hot breakfasts so ready-to-eat cold cereals are taking time to warm up to us. The ready to eat hot breakfast market is expected to reach over 800 crore by 2016 putting the combination of hot and cold cereal market at over 1500 crores.

The hot breakfast segment includes oatmeal with Quaker Oats (owned by Pepsi) being a major player. Marico (Saffola Oats) and Brittania Foods are also in the market. All food giants who have the ability to spend large amount of money on marketing would like to change the way India eats breakfast. They want you to think it’s healthy to eat ready to eat cereal.

Hot oatmeal is on the healthy side but the majority of ready to eat cereals, including most muesli have plenty of sugar and plenty of carbohydrates, they lack in fiber and lack in nutrients. Indian breakfasts of poha, upma, idli, dosa and parathas with the right accompaniments may be more calorific but are packed with nutrition and fibre. With their obesity rates soaring, Americans have learned the hard way but have woken up with slowly changing their breakfast habits to healthier foods.

We already have healthy nourishing breakfasts – let’s keep it that way.

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