Not a month seems to go by without a story in one of the national newspapers about the salt or sugar content of breakfast cereal. 

However, according to a recent report from Kellogg's, that should be the least of any nutritionist's concerns. For the report, research company Opinion Matters quizzed 1,000 seven to 14-year-olds about what they ate for breakfast. And it found that many were buying biscuits, cakes, crisps and meat snacks for breakfast en route to school. Favourite brands were Walkers crisps, Hula Hoops, KitKat, Starburst and Haribo, all washed down with Diet Coke.

Some 16% of the kids questioned said their parents handed over £2.22 on average each day so they could buy their breakfast on the way to school. And their favourite place for buying brekkie? Nearly 70% chose their local c-store.

However, most c-stores are geared up for more traditional breakfast choices such as cereals and cereal bars, while many also offer sausage or bacon baps.

When people think cereals they usually think Kellogg's. Indeed, according to reseach (IRI for Grocery Outlets up to week ending August 9, 2009), Kellogg's cereals account for 10 of the top 15 best-selling cereal products. Those 10 are: Crunchy Nut; Special K; Corn Flakes; Coco Pops; Rice Krispies; Bran Flakes; Frosties; Kellogg's Variety packs; Fruit n Fibre; and Special K Red Berries.

Kellogg's head of specialty accounts Chris McLaughlin believes variety and visibility is the key to success when it comes to breakfast products.

"Offering something for everyone will help to ensure you can satisfy all of your customers. Some will be looking for great tasting products; some will be looking for healthy products; while others will want a product the whole family will enjoy," he explains.

"Stocking the 10 best-selling Kellogg's cereals will tick all of these boxes and if your cereals are positioned near the other obvious breakfast items such as milk, bread and newspapers then you can be confident you are making the most of the opportunity."

McLaughlin adds that Kellogg's has been investing time and money to help educate retailers on how to maximise their cereal sales.

"Our retail partners have been telling us that they are unsure about what range to stock to meet shopper needs and maximise their sales. In response to this we've been working on an integrated trade communication programme to make sure our retail partners have all the information they need to make a profitable decision," he explains.

Kellogg's has invested in the cereal aisles within cash and carry depots to help retailers find the best-sellers. "We've redesigned all our outer cases to incorporate core range positioning. So, for example, you'll be able to see clearly that both Crunchy Nut and Special K are bigger sellers than Corn Flakes in terms of sales value. We believe these new designs will make it simple for retailers to select the right products," he says.

The company has also improved its trade messaging with helpful hints, tips and planograms. This is complemented in stores with brand-specific POS material to help draw shoppers' eyes to the fixture and increase cereal purchases within convenience.

According to Nielsen data (52 weeks ending October 31, 2009, independents and impulse sector excluding Co-ops) Weetabix is the number one performing cereal brand in independents. The Weetabix Food Company reports that its core range of Weetabix, Alpen, Weetos and Ready Brek are all among the top 25 brands in independents and achieved strong growth in 2009.

The company has developed smaller packs and cases for independents, as well as price-marked packs. It says the use of pricemarks will continue as part of a long term, 'great value' offering.

According to Cereal Partners business controller Graeme Foster, new cereal products are not hugely relevant to c-stores. He explains: "This is primarily due to convenience stores' fixture sizes and the need to concentrate on the biggest selling brands. The top-selling brands far outsell current cereal npd, as established brands are bought everyday by all consumers across all market areas. Therefore, these brands should be stocked 100% of the time, across all outlets, to meet consumers' requirements and expectations.

"More often than not retailers aren't maximising sales as the top-selling cereals are not always available. A one-metre, five-shelf c-store fixture has approximately 25 single-facing opportunities. That is enough room for most of the top selling ready-to-eat cereals, plus a couple of hot oats products to complete a recommended fixture. However, on most of my store visits I rarely see an adequate, concise range being sold. Education and range reviews are key to success, and at Nestlé we strive to educate in many ways, from undertaking store trials, to implementing recommended planograms with chosen partners."

Meanwhile, one cereal that's got the seal of approval from the health brigade is Quaker's new Paw Ridge for kids. Apparently, Paw Ridge is one of the healthiest children's products in the cereal aisle and consumer champion Which? supported its launch. Anna Butterworth, Which? head of corporate relations, says:  "Parents keep telling us they want healthier choices, but until now we've found that almost all cereals aimed at children are unhealthy. It's great that Quaker has bucked the trend of serving up sugar- and salt-laden cereals to kids, something we've been calling on for years."

When it comes to porridge for adults Jordans Cereals has added Quick and Creamy Porridge to sit alongside its Chunky Traditional Porridge. Jordans' Traditional Chunky Porridge is made with jumbo oats, while Quick and Creamy contains finer cuts and has a cooking time of just under three minutes. The company reckons the range will appeal to consumers seeking convenient, healthy breakfast cereals with environmental credentials. The porridge comes in new packs which highlight the company's commitment to nature-friendly farming.

Pots of potential

According to Chris McDonough, marketing and R&D director of Müller Dairy, there are now 546 million occasions when yogurt is consumed for breakfast at home.

In a bid to capture a bigger slice of the growing breakfast market, Müller this month launches the Bio Yogurt Corner. This latest product is, in fact, the new name for the Müller Healthy Balance Corner brand which began targeting the breakfast occasion last summer. Then the activity included the introduction of a new recipe, a new variant, new twin-pack design and new TV and press advertising to demonstrate the breakfast appeal of the brand with its 'The perfect way to start a feel-good day' message.

The Healthy Balance Corner recipe was adjusted to reduce the sweetness of the yogurt, and sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and golden linseeds were included in the raspberry & cranberry variant which joined the strawberry granola and tropical granola variants.

Now as the Müller Bio Yogurt Corner, the twin-pack format is replaced by single Corner pots of the three variants and a six-pack containing two pots of each variety.

The product is being supported by a spring TV and press advertising campaign and radio sponsorship activity, which forms part of a £12m marketing spend behind the Corner brand in 2010.

This month also sees the launch of a new Müller Vitality yogurt four-pack, rrp £1.59. The four-packs come in strawberry, raspberry, cherry and peach & passionfruit and replace the current Müller Vitality two-flavour six-packs. The new packs will also incorporate the message that prebiotic fibre and probiotic Vitality "help maintain the natural balance of a healthy digestive system".

Throughout January, when healthier eating is top of consumers' minds after Christmas, Müllerlight is being supported with a new press advertising campaign running in women's magazines and on posters in gyms and in fashion stores' fitting rooms. The activity is part of a £7m marketing spend behind the Müllerlight brand in 2010.

Spread it about

Toast remains popular at breakfast but you need something to go on it. Research conducted on behalf of Rowse Honey last summer showed the extent of honey consumption at breakfast, with more than 48% of consumers predominantly using it as a spread on toast and a further 27% opting to use it as a topping on breakfast foods or puddings.

Rowse Honey marketing manager Kirstie Jamieson says the company is helping to prompt breakfast consumption through a range of recipe suggestions published on its website and in its free recipe book.

Finally, Duerr's reports that its Moss Farm value range had a fantastic 2009. Sales and marketing director Richard Duerr explains: "Since its relaunch last January our Moss Farm range has seen 110% growth. The economic downturn means consumers are placing greater importance on price but that doesn't mean they are prepared to compromise on quality.

"Consumers want the same value for money from their convenience store that they get in a major supermarket and the Moss Farm range ensures that they are not disappointed."