What’s in store for breakfast cereal in India?

November 21, 2018
3 min read

Breakfast is considered an important meal in India. In fact, according to Mintel research, almost four in five Indian consumers eat breakfast daily, which showcases that the first meal of the day has a strong following.

Right now, traditional options like milk and fruit, and savoury breakfasts like poha/upma and chapatis/roti are the most popular breakfast items, followed by eggs and vegetables. In comparison, cereal is a relatively new, and less well-known breakfast option for Indian consumers.

Mintel estimates indicate that while consumption of cereal in India remains low, with per capita consumption lower than 0.1kg per year, the fact that so many consumers eat breakfast showcases the opportunities for cereal manufacturers in India.

Supporting a healthy lifestyle

With busier lifestyles today, Indian consumers are looking for cereal products that suit their needs for breakfast on-the-go and packaging that’s portable and makes for easy eating.

Mintel research reveals that one of the top goals for Indians this year is to live a healthier lifestyle. Brands can promote breakfast cereals as part of a balanced diet and emphasise the positive attributes of cereal, such as high fibre and wholegrain, in order to capture the attention of health-conscious consumers.

Consumers are now looking for cereals that are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, options that appeal to families with children, or older consumers whose nutritional needs include added calcium or iron. There is also room to capitalise on the functional attributes of cereal like slimming and cardiovascular health.

Hot cereal for breakfast and beyond

Despite low cereal consumption, there is room to grow the category, especially by focusing on more versatile hot cereal, which Indian consumers are familiar with. Hot cereal can take on both sweet or savoury notes, serving a dual purpose, and can be used as a breakfast item or as a side dish for dinner.

A number of hot cereals that rely on neutral or savoury flavour notes have come to market recently and there is room for more. Manufacturers could consider increasing interest in cold cereal as an afternoon snack, alongside other sweet or savoury snack foods.

Snack mixes that include cereal are a popular feature in other markets; for this reason, Indian manufacturers may want to consider experimenting with cold cereals beyond the breakfast occasion.

Grain Stories Organic Mixed Millet Bisi Bele Bath Mix
This ready-to-cook product contains mixed grains such as little millet, foxtail millet, kodo millet, barnyard millet, and tur dal. It is said to add whole grains to provide a combination full of nourishment and zest, and claims to be free from added colours, preservatives and GMO.

Orillet Quinoa Protein Flakes
This product comprises steamed quinoa and rolled flakes, is claimed to be ideal with milk, and provides fibre, calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. The product claims to be gluten-free and a low glycemic index, diabetic friendly and provide sustained energy.

Sante Tropical Muesli with Date, Pineapple and Papaya
This cereal contains a mix of five grains and fruits including wholegrain barley, oat, rice, corn and wheat. It claims to have high fibre content and a natural source of minerals, including phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese, which maintains a normal energy metabolism.

What we think

Today, the Indian market provides a number of opportunities for cereal manufacturers as consumers are increasingly looking for more healthy morning meal options. They are open to trying a range of flavour notes, from sweet to savoury, providing manufacturers with a challenge and opportunity to address these nuanced needs.

Marcia Mogelonsky
Marcia Mogelonsky

Marcia Mogelonsky, Ph. D. is the Director of Insight, Food & Drink, at Mintel. Her expertise focuses on consumer behavior across a range of categories.

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