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Health claims and indulgence can go 'hand in hand' for breakfast cereals: Mintel
To catch up with competing breakfast products like Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, suggested cereal manufacturers must "play the same game".
"Belvita Breakfast Biscuits have gone from being quite plain to quite indulgent, while maintaining health claims," Jago told BakeryandSnacks.com.
"You have to at least mirror the positioning of these products," he said. "You've got to play the same game."
Health claims and indulgence are the two key drivers of growth in the breakfast cereal category, Jago said, but to date, few cereal products have successfully bridged the gap.
"It is still true that the breakfast cereal market is polarized between indulgence and health...But there is no reason that the two can't go hand in hand."
"Nothing to stop it in principle"
Jago pinpointed Weetabix Minis as one of the best examples to date.
Boxes of Weetabix Minis, available in a chocolate variation, feature three claims - high-fiber, wholegrain, and low-salt.
"It works for Weetabix Minis because Weetabix is such a simple format," said Jago. "It would be more difficult the more complex the product...But there is nothing to stop it in principle."
However, Jago acknowledged that the combination of health claims and indulgent ingredients, such as chocolate, will always face scrutiny.
"It's all well and good to say that a product makes you feel fuller for longer, for example, but someone will still point out that it has high sugar content."
Wholegrain "won't be challenged"
Wholegrain remained the most printed breakfast cereal claim, featuring on more than a third of all new breakfast cereal products in 2014, according to Mintel data.
In 2014, 34% of European breakfast cereal launches featured a wholegrain claim. This was, however, down from 35% in 2013.
High-fiber meanwhile increased. It featured on 27% of European breakfast cereal launches in 2014 - up from 23% in 2013.
"None of the leading claims shot up, they are just slowly building," said Jago.
However, wholegrain and high-fiber "won't be challenged" for the top spots, he said. "I think they will always be ahead of the others."