Besides being remembered as the year of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 will also go down in history books as the year of a home cooking renaissance. We’re baking, we’re eating dinner gathered around the dining room table, and most bizarrely, we’re making our own breakfast at home. With the disappearance of normal morning commutes to offices came fewer opportunities for breakfast on the go, too.
Fast food chains are experiencing these shifts in a big way—sales have been down at most breakfast giants like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Panera (except for Wendy’s, whose breakfast sales are helping the chain recover the losses caused by the pandemic).
With breakfast moving into the home kitchen domain, there’s a surge in demand for the most iconic American morning staple: cereal. A favorite of many because of its simplicity and familiarity, cereal is experiencing a huge revival.
Before this year, cereal sales have been in a steady annual decline for years. In 2016, Business Insider attributed the ongoing slump to the fact that millennials choose convenience over homemade breakfast, no matter how simple the latter may be. But the lack of grab-and-go morning options has shifted the concept of convenience to what’s most easily executed at home. And the consumers have spoken—so far this year, the sales of cereal in America have grown by a whopping 11.8%. It’s no surprise that companies big and small are recognizing this new crispy opportunity.
The key Big Food players have all supported this growth with their own numbers. General Mills, whose iconic brands include Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Chex, and Cap’n Crunch, has reported an increase of 26% in cereal sales. Similarly, the sales of Quaker Oats cereals and oatmeals grew by 26% in the most recent quarter, according to parent company PepsiCo, while Kellogg’s vast array of cereal lines drew a 9% increase in sales during the same time.
But it isn’t just the big grocery store brands that are fighting for their slice of the cereal pie. A new batch of food startups is coming up with innovative approaches to healthy and adult cereals. Magic Spoon and HighKey launched keto-friendly lines of cereal this year, while OffLimits concocted the first cereal for adults, which turns milk into coffee.
And not to be outdone on its own breakfast turf, Dunkin’ recently launched two flavors of their own caffeinated cereal, which is available in Walmart, Stop&Shop, Publix, Wegmans, Albertsons, and Food Lion, among others.
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