Toby-Baker, Cereal Partners UK
Toby Baker, marketing director UK & Australia, Cereal Partners UK

Louise Banham talks to Toby Baker, marketing director UK & Australia at Cereal Partners UK, about the trends affecting the cereal market 

What will be the key trends over the next 12 months?

Social factors, health and portability are key trends we are seeing in the market and are expected to continue to drive significant impact over the
coming years.

Socially, we are seeing a rise in the number of single-person households as well as an ageing population. This is likely to lead to smaller, more frequent shops among these groups and also could begin to influence the purchasing of larger pack sizes.

In relation to health, consumers are becoming more and more conscious about their overall wellbeing, with sugar reduction and digestive wellness being key considerations. The fact that the free-from category has grown 37.5% year on year highlights just how important it is to meet the specific health needs of our consumers.

Finally, food to go is expected to grow twice as fast as grocery retail over the next five years and, as result, portable and convenient options are expected to be a key area of innovation – particularly for breakfast.

How can wholesalers ensure they get the right balance of reliable sellers versus new and unproven in their ranges? 

Taking a serious look at current ranging will be vital for wholesalers wanting to maximise their profits. Making a clear distinction between the top sellers and the slow performers will help to ensure that every SKU justifies its listing; either by offering a key point of difference that meets a consumer need or by being proven to deliver strong sales.

This will enable wholesalers to get the right balance of reliable sellers while also allowing space for NPD that targets the upcoming trends being observed in the market.

What would you like to see happen in wholesale in the next 12 months?

It would be great to see increased focus on the trends within this channel over the next 12 months. If wholesalers can effectively meet the needs of their customers and consumers in these areas, we believe it will enable them to unlock their fair share and accelerate growth.

What product launches are you most excited about in 2019?

A product launch that we are particularly excited about this year is the Nestlé Breakfast To Go cereal pots, a portable no-fuss breakfast that is made up of a portion of cereal, milk, a bowl and spoon as a complete solution. It is essentially a ‘grab and go’ product and, as such, is highly convenient to eat when on the move – no preparation needed.

This product is definitely one to watch – it directly targets all three key trends due to its convenient format (portability trend), individual serving (social factors) and it is high in fibre, contains whole grain as the number-one ingredient and is free from artificial colours and flavours (health).

What are your top tips for wholesalers looking to embrace trends?

Have a firm understanding of how health, portability and social factors will impact consumer purchasing decisions and act on it to unlock your fair share of growth.

Do not be afraid of unproven NPD – trial new products that directly target key market trends to better meet consumer needs and provide a breadth of range.

Get the right balance between strong sellers and newness. Take an in-depth look at the range to ensure customers are still getting their favourites, but remove poor sellers that do not add a point of difference to make space for compelling NPD.

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Louise is the editor in chief at Newtrade, overseeing Better Wholesaling and its sister titles for the independent convenience channel RN and Retail Express. She can be found on Twitter @LouiseBanham.


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