Categories / Pasta/Rice/Potatoes
Doug's Drift

Awaken To New Opportunities

Although the breakfast cereal market maintains a strong perennial presence, sales have remained flat for years, and consumption continues to decline. Yes, the category still hits $10 billion in annual U.S. sales, but consumption drops by 1 percent each year (see this month's Private Eye on page 12 for more on the breakfast market).

Ingredient innovation will help spur new interest (Post’s Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch is made with Greek yogurt), but diversification of the breakfast market will take place decidedly outside of the cereal bowl. This is an area where private label has an opportunity to jump into the fray early on to gain a competitive advantage.

Grab-and-go will form the central focus here – and particularly breakfast beverages. Here, yogurt presents a solid opportunity for private label. Although private label controls significant market share of spoonable and frozen yogurt, it has yet to gain appreciable ground in drinkable yogurt.

Although the concept of breakfast beverages is nothing new, two major product manufacturers are taking a new swipe – General Mills via its BFast drink (milk with whole-grain rice, oats, and quinoa, along with inulin, in chocolate, vanilla, or berry) and Kellogg via its Breakfast to Go (whey and soy protein, again in a milk-based matrix, in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry). Both strongly emphasize protein and fiber and, like breakfast cereals, are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Although BFast includes inulin, a prebiotic (to stimulate beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut), both Bfast and Breakfast to Go are milk-based. Using probiotic-rich yogurt instead brings breakfast drinks squarely into that vibrant category.

Bolthouse Farms (owned by Campbell Soup) takes this approach with its peach and strawberry yogurt-based Breakfast Smoothie products, featuring whole-grain rice and oats. And although it doesn’t incorporate a grain component, Aldi has ventured into yogurt smoothie territory (in mixed berry and pomegranate, or strawberry) as part of its Fit & Active line.

One ingredient that could serve as a point of differentiation in breakfast beverages is nutrient-rich chia (often dubbed a “superfood”), which has seen a significant uptick of late.

Another take on A.M. grab-and-go is updated heat-and-eat breakfast sandwiches – ideally with nutritional considerations, varying degrees of ethnicity, and/or a restaurant sensibility. One private label product that hits these metrics is Trader Joe’s frozen Breakfast Burritos, made with nitrate-free turkey bacon, eggs, “lite” cheese and hash browns. Some demographics might embrace burritos with more-adventuresome ingredients, breakfast empanadas, tortas, or even Asian breakfast bao.

 More restaurants continue to work toward owning more of the cost-advantageous breakfast audience, so astute moves by private label retail lines to capture the morning share of stomach likely will be well-received. 

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October 2014

The October 2014 issue of Private Label Buyer includes new perspectives on produce, as well as category insights on pasta, rice, and potatoes. Check it out today!

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