Even though the overall cereal market is in decline, with Mintel data showing that UK sales of breakfast cereals have fallen from 467 million kilograms in 2011 to an estimated 432 million kilograms in 2016, senior brand manager Eric Williams believes the PepsiCo-owned brand is in a “unique position” due to oats’ health benefits.
Recent Mintel data also shows that 52% of those who eat breakfast cereals say they check the sugar content before choosing a new cereal and 31% say concerns over sugar content have caused them to cut back on the amount of cereal they have eaten in that past 12 months.
“Cereals as a whole is certainly challenged, but hot cereals like porridge, granola and muesli are pockets of growth within the sector. We’re certainly not completely insulated from the challenge as people look for different breakfast options, but we’re very well positioned to continue to grow,” he said.
Letting Instagram Decide
As part of its parent company PepsiCo’s renewed focus on digital, Quaker has recently made some changes to its marketing. In partnership with agency Canvas Blue, it is launching a pop-up ‘Oat Café’ in East London over the last weekend of October.
What is served in the café will be dictated by Instagram. Quaker will be posting different recipes on Instagram every 30 minutes, and the most liked recipe will be featured on the menu.
“We know Brits are obsessed with strawberry, asparagus and football season, but we’re hoping to introduce the UK to the idea of ‘porridge season’. It’s done in a way that talks to consumers differently and is totally new for the brand,” he explained.
“PepsiCo has been investing in digital by bringing in new teams and staffing up our digital marketing department in a really big way, both in our local markets and regional teams. This is the organisation’s largest commitment to digital that I’ve seen. All teams are benefiting from it.”
Entering New Markets
Williams added that a big part of the brand’s long-term strategy is a focus on innovation and new markets. While it has launched granola and muesli products over the last two years, it is now looking to venture into the “convenience and portable” breakfast market.
“At a macro level, the big players right now outside of grocery are Pret, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. This is a space that is growing. When we look at convenience products, we see a similar opportunity for [our] healthy products,” he said.
“If you look at what’s most popular in the convenience breakfast market, the bacon butty is definitely up there. And that’s not something that’s sustainable from a personal budget or health standpoint. We definitely see a role in the sector for the brand there over the long term and we’re committed to find the right product formats and nutritional profiles where we think we can be competitive.”
Source: Marketing Week