Home Food Demand for convenience drives innovation in India’s breakfast cereal market

Demand for convenience drives innovation in India’s breakfast cereal market

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The out-of-home breakfast space in India holds significant opportunity for brands and companies. At present, India’s out-of-home breakfast market is dominated by street vendors and Udupi restaurants. More recently, however, the country has been seeing the emergence of specialised breakfast providers that cater to office-goers who increasingly have little time to make and sit-down for a breakfast at home.

Demand for convenience drives innovation in India's breakfast cereal market
Changing lifestyles and the growing number of working women in urban areas have helped the growth of India’s processed and convenience foods categories

This eating occasion is likely to grow as consumers start to demand greater choice and convenience.

India’s Still-Growing Breakfast Cereal Market

As global breakfast cereal brands have found, Indian consumers typically prefer freshly made hot breakfasts. Data from reveals volume sales of the hot breakfast cereals segment saw a 27 per cent rise from 2015 to reach 33,000 tonnes in 2016.

In comparison, cold breakfast cereals posted a 13 per cent growth from 2015 to reach 24,000 tonnes in 2016. Consumers also prefer savoury breakfasts, spurring innovation in the form of savoury oats in Indian flavours.

While savoury oats have become immensely popular, brands are now taking things further by positioning savoury oats as a healthy, any-time snack and not just a breakfast meal. There have also been extensions into global cuisine flavours.

This highlights how new categories have the potential to evolve through innovation that takes into account local requirements, a movement that aligns with Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘In Tradition We Trust’, which discusses how consumers are seeking comfort from modernised updates of age-old formulations, flavours and formats.

Demand for Convenience Drives Category Innovation

Intake of breakfast cereal is still limited in India as research from Mintel shows per capita consumption was just 0.043kg in 2016. That said, the product is taking off—per capita consumption of breakfast cereal in India in 2015 was 0.036kg—as it offers time-pressed consumers a viable breakfast option that’s considered healthy and suitable in terms of taste.

While there is significant potential for breakfast cereals to grow, there is similar scope for prepared or semi-prepared traditional Indian breakfasts to take flight as well. This growth potential is driven primarily by the convenience the product offers as well as the variety that is ripe for the picking.

We are already seeing this particularly happening with the traditional dosa or idly—breakfast foods that are both labour-intensive and time-consuming to make from scratch. Changing lifestyles and the growing number of working women in urban areas have helped the growth of India’s processed and convenience foods categories.

Mintel Trend ‘FSTR HYPR’ explores how the pace of life has reached breakneck speed and how brands are innovating to keep up with the consumer demand for faster, easier and more efficient products. Focusing on consumers’ need for convenience, several brands in India have launched ready-made idly or dosa batter for households looking for easier breakfast or meal solutions that are not too different from everyday fare.

Formats range from shelf-stable dry mixes to fresh, ready-to-use batter. The popularity of the ready-made batter has spurred innovation, and comes in different formats—right from smart packaging to multi-grain formulations. Such an evolution of a category has the advantages of ensuring choice, immediate consumption and easy availability of a product not native to a particular region.