Cereal Makers Struggle to Retain Consumers as Tastes, Shopping Habits Change

August 21, 2019

Photo by AP Photo / Paul Sakuma

Changing consumer habits have hit the cereal industry hard, according to a new Wall Street Journal article. Not only are more people skipping breakfast and reducing their sugar intake, but quicker snack bars are also more popular. “There’s a lot more competition for breakfast than there ever has been,” General Mills Chief Executive Jeff Harmening told the Wall Street Journal. Complicating matters further is that grocery stores are carrying fewer cereal brands, and people aren't shopping in stores as frequently due to online ordering. “Grocers are forced to be a little bit more selective as trips to center stores go down,” Hunter Williams, partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman, told WSJ. It all adds up to the statistic that U.S. consumers purchased $8.49 billion in cold cereal in 2018 according to the market-research firm IRI--which sounds impressive, except that figure is a decrease of 6 percent from five years ago.