Cereal Partners marketing director Linda Mills gives her opinion.

SBHD: Cereal Partners marketing director Linda Mills gives her opinion.

Achieving growth in the cereal market is difficult. Virtually everyone eats cereal, households consume 15 or 20 different products a year and, with several brands being bought at any one time, there is not much room to grow.

Habitual purchase is high, but the wide portfolios mean relatively few products are purchased monthly – just a few “basic” brands such as Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Shredded Wheat and Weetabix. This leaning towards “basic” cereals is unique to the UK. Only the British have such a strong preference for “unfussy” products.

Cereal is probably the category with the most choice available in stores, with a lot of repertoire brands and good quality, price-competitive own-labels. So much happens at the shelf. Women will arrive with a shortlist of five or six products, all of which are acceptable in nutritional terms, and the on-pack promotion acts as a tie-breaker. She may have children with her and choose a pack with something like the Nesquik colour-changing spoon to appeal to them. Often you can mention the promotion in the ads to act as an extra lever.

Cereal is not a very forgiving market. The high cost of advertising in such a high-spending market, traditionally dominated by one company, means you cannot launch in a casual way.

You have to push hard to break through, and have to offer something new, taking advantage of developments in new technology, eating habits and tastes.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here