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Breaking down the cereal code

BY Alaric DeArment

You’ve heard it before, and it’s true: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Studies have proven that eating breakfast is closely linked to healthy body weights, improved mental alertness and physical performance. Plus, people who skip breakfast don’t make up for the missed nutrients later in the day.

Skipping breakfast not only deprives a person of needed nutrients, but the first meal of the day also helps refuel the body and brain with energy, and kick-starts the metabolism.

Cereal is a typically low-fat, nutrient-dense, cholesterol-free food that encourages breakfast consumption. That’s because children and adults enjoy the variety, flavors and textures, as well as the convenience of ready-to-eat cereal. In the United States, ready-to-eat cereal and milk is the leading source of 10 nutrients in children’s diets. And cereal’s role in a nutritious breakfast goes beyond the nutrients in the cereal itself. A serving of cereal serves as an excellent centerpiece for a balanced breakfast that includes fruit and milk.

For example, an average serving of Kellogg’s kids’ cereals with a half cup of skim milk contains 150 calories, or nine percent of the recommended daily intake of 1,650 calories for U.S. children age 6 to 11. By comparison, an egg, bacon and toast contains 253 calories, while a hard-boiled egg, ham and cheese contains 360.

Eating breakfast is not only important to start a healthy day, but it is also part of a healthy long-term lifestyle. Both children and adults who eat breakfast regularly are less likely to be overweight; a U.S. study of school children also found higher intakes of vitamins A and E, iron and B vitamins in those who consumed breakfast than in those who skipped the meal. The breakfast skippers were also less likely to achieve even two-thirds of their recommended daily intake for vitamins and minerals.

Ready-to-eat cereal is also often an important source of fiber, which is important since 90 percent of American adults and children aren’t getting enough fiber in their diets. Additionally, there is strong evidence that diets higher in fiber help reduce the risk of a number of health issues, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers.

Kellogg Company is committed to addressing this important need. The majority of Kellogg’s cereals in the U.S. are at least a good source of fiber (3 grams), and more than half also include a half serving (8 grams) of whole grains.

In addition to fiber, many health-minded consumers have also begun to monitor their sugar and sodium intakes. Fortunately, sugar in ready-to-eat cereals — including kids’ cereals — contributes less than five percent of daily sugar intake, plus adds taste, texture and enjoyment that encourages the consumption of important nutrients. For example, a bowl of Kellogg’s Froot Loops includes 12 grams — or 48 calories — of sugar. A glass of orange juice has more sugar, and the average fruit yogurt has more than double the sugar of kids’ cereal with milk.
Cereal also contains less than half the sodium of many popular breakfast items, including two slices of toast with margarine. In fact, ready-to-eat cereal contributes about two percent of the sodium in the U.S. diet. In addition, to address concerns about sodium, Kellogg has been lowering sodium for more than 10 years in products like Kellogg’s All Bran, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and Kellogg’s Special K, among others.

Ever since W.K. Kellogg invented flaked cereal more than 100 years ago, Kellogg has been recognized as a breakfast innovator. In fact, Kellogg has recently reformulated more than 100 products worldwide to add fiber, remove trans fats and reduce sodium and sugar, all without compromising taste or quality. And today, families around the world count on Kellogg’s cereals every day.

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Arming consumers to take control of breakfast

BY Barbara White-Sax

Today, American consumers are more focused on the foods they eat. They read labels. They understand the importance of fiber and whole grains. They know the difference between good and bad fats.

Better research, education and marketing have raised consumers’ nutrition awareness, yet many still fail to follow one of the most basic rules of good nutrition: Eat a healthy breakfast.
Studies have proven that eating breakfast is closely linked to healthy body weights, improved mental alertness and physical performance. Cereal is a typically low-fat, nutrient-dense food that contains no cholesterol and is a quick and easy way to start the day.

In fact, ready-to-eat cereal and milk is the leading source of 10 nutrients in children’s diets. And with more than 80 cereal choices, Kellogg meets consumers’ taste preferences and nutrition needs, including great-tasting choices for digestive health, weight management and heart health.

“Ready-to-eat cereal is one of the largest center-store categories and continues to respond well to brand-building and innovation. It’s proven that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, for kids and adults alike,” explained Doug VanDeVelde, SVP marketing and innovation of ready-to-eat cereal at Kellogg Company. “Consumers — especially moms — appreciate the convenience and nutrition of ready-to-eat cereal. New flavor options and innovations/renovations continue to meet family’s needs.”

For example, the importance of fiber to overall health is well-documented, yet nine out of 10 adults and children don’t get enough fiber in their diets. To help address this need, Kellogg recently added fiber to some of its most popular kids’ cereals — including Kellogg’s Foot Loops, Apple Jacks and Corn Pops — and to most varieties of Kellogg’s Special K.
Multiple studies support the benefits of breakfast. In particular:

  • Eating breakfast can help children do better in school by improving memory, test grades, school attendance and mood;
  • People who skip breakfast don’t make up for the missed nutrients later in the day;
  • Researchers revealed that people who do not eat cereal are more likely to have inadequate nutrition intakes; and
  • Research also suggests that eating breakfast may help lower overall daily caloric intake.

Consumers clearly need more information about how critical a healthy breakfast can be to their health and the health of their children. Thankfully, supermarkets and drug stores have already taken the lead.

More supermarkets employ registered dieticians to act as “personal shoppers” and provide consumers with information on how they can maintain a healthy diet.

Hy-Vee, for example, offers one-on-one nutritional counseling that includes supermarket tours to teach customers how to read food labels. The supermarket chain has also instituted a labeling system that helps customers identify better-for-you foods.

Dee Sandquist, a dietitian for the Hy-Vee supermarket chain and representative for the American Diabetes Association, said that consumers are “hungry for nutritional information” and that supermarket chains have been proactive in providing it.

For example, cereal provides important nutrition for people at all life stages. It helps children get valuable nutrients they might otherwise miss. For women of childbearing age, cereal provides necessary iron, calcium, fiber and folic acid, while the nutrient density of cereal helps elderly people get necessary nutrients for relatively few calories, which is important as calorie needs decline but nutrients needs do not.

So as retailers try to help consumers make the connection between eating breakfast and achieving better overall health, ready-to-eat cereals like Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Special K and All-Bran are a great place to start.

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Suppliers ‘buck’ up store shelves with value-priced snack options

BY DSN STAFF

Continued consumer price consciousness and the growing influence of the dollar store channel have made snacks priced at $1 popular with consumers.

Supermarkets are featuring such products as Easy Mac single serves, Koyo tofu miso and Brother’s International fruit crisps in dump bins near checkouts. Walgreens is running in-and-out promotions on snacks priced at $1 in its “Wow” ads, and CVS has devoted a 6-ft. section in the food aisle to a 10-for$10 mix-and-match set that includes single-serve cereal bowls from General Mills, small-size baking mixes from Duncan Hines, soup meals from Nissan, cookies from Traditional Foods Baking Batch brand and Emerald nuts in bags and resealable canisters. The chain also has promoted Frito-Lay snack canisters for $1 on endcaps.

“One dollar is a magic price point,” said Jon Hauptman, a partner at Willard Bishop consulting. “Retailers use the tactic to enhance their price image throughout the store. In this economy, shoppers are looking for inexpensive but indulgent treats. These items have great appeal to shoppers.”

Hauptman said the popularity of $1-priced items has led manufacturers to create innovative packaging and package sizes that allow them to bring more of the popular-priced items to market. Emerald, for example, packages honey-roasted nuts in resealable 4.5-oz. canisters for the CVS promotion. “We’re seeing cereal in boxes that are larger than a single-serve, but not as large as the typical box, priced at a dollar,” he said.

Bill Erwin, CEO of Flava Puffs, said his company has been so successful with value-priced programs in the drug channel that the company is introducing several new value-priced items in first quarter 2011. Flava Puffs soon will be available in onion ring, nacho, party mix, cheese party mix and kettle corn.

Brothers International is another company that’s tailoring its offerings to meet value price points. “It’s our intention to work with retailers to keep our product at an everyday $1 retail,” said Robert Larsen, director of sales. “Our 10-for-$10 program with Stop & Shop has been extremely successful, and we’ve built on that with a back-to-school-themed promotion and are planning a holiday-stocking-stuffer pro -motion with our Mickey Mouse licensed snacks.”

Top-growth snack categories

SNACK %CHG*
Microwave popcorn 13.0%
Chocolate candy 11.0
Meat snacks 7.0
Rfg appetizers/snack rolls 7.0
Salty snacks 7.0

 

Value-priced snack options certainly have appeal for both retailers and consumers in the snack aisle. Sally Lyons Wyatt, SVP at SymphonyIRI Group, told attendees at a recent Snaxpo meeting that 80% of consumers are looking for the best value when they buy snacks.

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