SBHD: This month BrandTrack looks at the breakfast cereal market. It’s a sector with wide purchase repertoires, in which television advertising, in-pack novelty promotions and price cutting all play a key part in influencing choice of brand
SBHD: Cereals bought
* The respondents claimed to have bought 62 brands in February. Six were bought by more than ten per cent, and another seven by five to ten per cent of the sample.
* Kellogg’s Cornflakes is the most widely purchased brand. Forty two per cent of respondents claimed to have bought in this period, followed by Weetabix at 40 per cent. Well-established brands, which did not score so highly on recall in spite of their high spend, improved in purchase. Nearly a quarter of the sample had bought Rice Krispies and Frosties, and more than one in ten Shreddies. Own-label achieved 23 per cent penetration overall.
* On average, penetration of all the major brands is three to four times higher among women with children. This skew was least marked for Cornflakes and Rice Krispies at a rough factor of three, rising to five for Cheerios and seven for Shredded Wheat. Own-label cereals have an equal penetration among child and non-child households.
* Penetration of all brands also rises with household size: the more people in the household, the larger the overall number of brands, reflecting the ease of catering for specific tastes.
SBHD: Reasons for purchase
* Although habitual purchase is the strongest single factor in this market, the exceptionally high penetration levels allow for a substantial degree of variation and of considered choice. Cereal consumers are susceptible to a wide range of marketing tactics, both above and below the line, generating intention and attracting impulse purchase. The power of TV ads is balanced by the importance of catching the eye, by price cuts or promotions.
* The market seems to be polarised between brands that have a strong foundation in habitual purchase, such as Cornflakes, Rice Krispies and Weetabix, and those that attract purchase by television advertising and on-pack promotions. Of the latter, Frosties, Cheerios and Coco Pops are twice as likely as the norm to have been bought as a result of television advertising, a figure which rises to an astounding 79 per cent for Banana Bubbles. It is noticeable that these brands are targeted at or for children.
* The influence of children is confirmed in the reasons for purchase. Women with children are far more likely to have bought a brand because of advertising or pack offers, many of which are aimed at children. In addition to the above, 15 per cent of respondents stated that they had bought at least one brand because their children had asked for it.
SBHD: Advertising recall
* Thirty nine brands were spontaneously named as being advertised during February. Only eight were given by more than five per cent of the respondents. Kellogg brands accounted for six of the top eight recalled, the others being Cheerios and Weetabix.
* Both the product field and the vast majority of the brands have almost flat recall, in age and social class terms.
* The major influence on ad recall seems to be the presence of children. Most brands have a higher recall in households with children, and these respondents are also more likely to remember advertising for more, and smaller brands.
SBHD: Media expenditure
* Thirty three cereal brands were advertised during February, 14 of which spent more than £250,000 in the period. In the previous 12 months, 63 brands were advertised, 18 with budgets of more than £2m. The sector was worth just over £100m overall.
* Advertising expenditure is dominated by Kellogg, supporting 16 brands and accounting for nearly 65 per cent of the total sector spend. Cereal Partners was the second major advertiser, accounting for 16 per cent of total expenditure, split between 12 brands.
* TV is the only significant medium for this market, taking 93 per cent of all expenditure. It is likely, however, that below-the-line promotions also attract a greater share of expenditure than other media.
Researchers asked a sample of 324 women aged 20 to 45 who bought breakfast cereals during February 1995.
Analysis: The Human Factor Fieldwork: ESA Market Research 01727 847572
Ad spend: Register-MEAL 0171 833 1212
For customised reports on breakfast cereals, contact Elaine Hunt, BrandTrack tel/fax 01451 844754