IT is often described as the most important meal of the day, but  interest in breakfast was on the wane until the pandemic struck and seemingly reignited a love for cereal that has seen some countries run out of favoured brands.


Breakfast isn’t what it used to be?

Before the pandemic, for most people, breakfast was becoming a “grab and go” scenario where many picked up a coffee and pastry on the way into the office, but now no-one is on the way into work and it seems we are instead taking the time to sit down to breakfast.


As a result?

Cereal sales are surging and in many cases, it’s the indulgent cereals flying off the shelves. According to data from market research firm, Kantar, the biggest sales gain last year came from Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, which was up £21.3 million - £12 million more than any other brand - while Kellogg’s Coco Pops were up by £6.6 million and overall, chocolate, sweet and flavoured cereals were up by £67.8 million - the biggest jump of the market.


But all cereal sales were up?

Everything from traditional cereals to porridge sold millions more and Catriona Campbell-Voegt, nutritionist and Kellogg’s UK wellbeing lead, told The Grocer magazine it was as a direct result of Covid-19: “With people no longer being able to go out to cafés or restaurants, they were looking to bring that indulgence into the home, in the place of on-the-go treat items such as fresh croissants or muffins.”


And it’s not just in the UK?

Prior to last year, the biggest one-month percentage increase in cereal consumption in America was 5.6% back in July 1973, but as lockdown took hold last March, it was 26.9%, according to the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.


Americans are going nutty for one particular brand?

Shoppers searching for Grape-Nuts cereal in the States have become used to empty shelves and out-of-stock notices, but owner, Post Holdings, said they hope to be back at full-capacity provision to retailers by the middle of this month, saying in a statement: "People may continue to see shortages and temporary out-of-stocks on Grape-Nuts as we continue to work through supply constraints and higher cereal demand amid the pandemic.”


Weetabix went viral?

Weetabix sparked a few online storms in February when it suggested fans serve the cereal with marmite and then suggested pouring smoothies over Weetabix in place of milk, to which Innocent smoothies' Twitter feed responded: "Even we wouldn't do this. We're not monsters.”



Weetabix - whose sales were up £8.7m (6%) to £153.3 million over the year to 5 September 2020 - also suggested serving Heinz Baked Beans on Weetabix in a post that went viral and did no harm to sales. The tweet racked up more than 1 billion views and in Sainsbury’s alone, sales were up 15% in the ensuing days.


It may not just be for breakfast?

Ms Campbell-Voegt told The Grocer cereal offers a snacking option for the whole family, saying: “There was an increase in snacking throughout the day with people working from the comforts of their own homes and looking for store cupboard options for the whole family that are quick and easy to prepare.”