If any CPG brand is synonymous with breakfast, that brand is Kellogg’s. And the company wants to keep it that way. From the CEO on down, the folks from Battle Creek, Mich., are expressing a renewed determination to expand the market for their staple breakfast products, especially cereal, and also to persuade both American and global consumers that “breakfast” foods are great for the rest of the morning – and the rest of the day – as well.
So as National Breakfast Week and National School Breakfast Week kicks off on March 4, Kellogg Company is promoting the occasion with a new in-store marketing program, working with three major retailers, and also highlighting the simple importance of the morning meal for young Americans with its Share Breakfast program.
Kellogg is highlighting the growing importance of breakfast to retailers’ center aisle even as it also promotes the Share Breakfast program with their help.
“Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day for consumers, breakfast is important for retailers, too,”
Doug VanDeVelde, senior vice president of marketing and innovation for morning foods for Kellogg, told CPGmatters.
He noted that, “while many consumers have stepped away from home-cooked meals for lunch and dinner, most consumers are still eating breakfast at home, making cereal and other breakfast items even more important to retailers’ success.”
Per capita occasions of in-home breakfast over the last five years have increased in the U.S., Kellogg said, and per-capita consumption occasions through other points of the morning are increasing as well. Retailers’ interest in Kellogg’s cereals, waffles, multi-grain and granola bars, Pop Tarts and protein drinks, VanDeVelde said , “reflects their interest to capture disproportionate share of this upside.”
Strategically, Kellogg believes there's still plenty of room to grow “traditional” breakfast business in the U.S. and abroad while also stretching the definition of “breakfast” to create consumption occasions throughout the rest of the American morning and other day parts.
“As we look at cereal in our very traditional definition of cereal – of a bowl, cereal, cold milk, spoon first thing in the morning,” said Kellogg CEO John Bryant, at a recent CPG analysts' meeting in New York, “we think we can keep growing that business.” He said most cereal is consumed by kids and boomers, and so “with an aging population, we have another demographic trend that will help us there as well” in terms of Kellogg’s cereal business.
Kellogg also intends to gain yet a bigger “share of stomach” as Americans consume breakfast. One of its biggest initiatives in that direction is Kellogg to Go Breakfast Beverage, which it launched in one major retailer last year and is taking nationally this year. The product has 10 grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and essentially all the nutritional benefits of cereal and a bowl of milk in a portable format.
“We're seeing a very good response to this,” Bryant said – “still early days, but we see it as an opportunity to bring consumers in who otherwise would be skipping breakfast or skipping cereal and eating something else. So, [it's] an opportunity for us to participate more in dashboard dining when it comes to a product that’s actually hard to do that [with] traditional cereal.”
Also, when it comes to Kellogg's principal, traditional breakfast product, Bryant said, cereal “is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food form; it is very affordable, relatively inexpensive ... plus from a versatility perspective, it’s much more versatile than a lot of people give it credit for.”
In other words, he added, Kellogg can be effective in promoting cereal consumption outside the “breakfast occasion.” A decade ago, only about 20% of breakfast cereal was consumed beyond the morning repast; today, that number is 30%. “So we can drive additional consumption of cereal in other day parts, whether it be dinner replacement or snacking throughout the day.”
At the same time, Kellogg is leveraging its retailer partnerships to help promote an annual activity that it launched three years ago by designating the first week of March as National Breakfast Week. It also sponsors National School Breakfast Week, which is administered by the School Nutrition Association.
“We did this to call attention to the importance of breakfast and to encourage our consumers and retailers to rally around the cause,” VanDeVelde explained. About 20% of American children still go without breakfast every day, he said, and so Kellogg has built a partnership with the non-profit Action for Healthy Kids to donate more than one million breakfasts to kids
This year, Kellogg is working more than ever before with retailers to raise awareness about the challenge. With an in-store marketing plan involving point-of-sale (POS) promotions and advertising on packaging and on milk cartons, Kellogg has enlisted “numerous retailers,” VanDeVelde said A number of supermarket companies have planned to host breakfasts at their headquarters during National Breakfast Week.
And Kellogg is working with Publix, BJ’s and Safeway chains to create breakfast events in their local markets to support Share Breakfast.
“Breakfast is essential to giving kids the energy and focus they need to grow and learn,” VanDeVelde said. “Kellogg’s is committed to sharing one million breakfasts to help kids unlock their potential.”
National Breakfast Week is the latest Kellogg promotion touting the first meal of the day. Last January, the company partnered with the National fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board to promote milk with breakfast cereal via an ad campaign in addition to other marketing elements.
“At Kellogg’s, we know that a bowl of cereal and milk is a great, nutritious way to start your day,” said VanDeVelde at the time. “So, it just made sense to bring our two brands together in a fun way while continuing to engage moms about the many nutritional benefits of cereal with milk. In fact, this dynamic duo delivers 10 important nutrients to kid’s diets.”