It was once as American as, well, blue jeans to start your day with a bowl of cereal and milk. Breakfast grains were once major sponsors behind kid-oriented television programming, or licensed beloved fictionalcharacters to put on cereal boxes. Now sales at major cereal companies are down, and a variety of reasons are contributing to the decline.
Earnings at Kellogg are down 15%, but it’s not just the big, expensive brand names that are falling out of favor. Cereal sales overall are down about 6%…the same amount that denim sales have fallen. Oh, no, America, what’s happening?
It’s a combination of things. Many Americans have to adjust their diets for celiac disease, which eliminates many traditional grains from their diets. On a wider scale, parents have finally figured out that maybe sugar-encrusted bits of wheat and marshmallows are not the most nutritious thing that children could eat first thing in the morning. “With childhood obesity at historically high levels, health-conscious parents are aiming to cut down the volume of breakfast cereals consumed by their offspring,” pointed out one industry analyst in a report.
What are we eating instead? Cereal companies aim to get into the breakfast shake and cereal bar business, figuring that maybe we’ll eat those as we hurry out the door. We might still eat granola, but less of it, and sprinkled in a container of Greek yogurt.