Open any book on healthy eating and you’re bound to find porridge mentioned somewhere. That’s because oats have long been known to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Plus they’re a filling way to start the day.

Manufacturers have been quick to cash in, providing instant oats and easy-to-make versions as well as ones with added goodness such as super fruits and super grains. And, more recently, the advent of ’overnight oats’ has meant porridge is being eaten not just in the winter, but all year long.

The popularity of porridge is highlighted by Kantar Worldpanel data that reveals nearly seven out of 10 households purchase the breakfast item at some point during the year. And Nielsen data reveals that sales have more than doubled in the past seven years. And the most popular brand? Well that accolade, according to Nielsen, goes to Quaker Oats. And it doesn’t take its position for granted as it’s been at the forefront of NPD.

Jeremy Gibson, marketing director at Quaker UK, explains: "We understand that shoppers increasingly want a tasty and healthy start to their day, however they also want a breakfast to fill them up which is why we launched Quaker Oats Super Goodness, with enhanced nutritional qualities to give shoppers that extra pick-me-up in the morning."

The Super Goodness sachet range has five variants: three Super Goodness Super Grains flavours Original, Apple, Cinnamon & Raisin and Raspberry & Cranberry all of which contain wholegrain oats, red quinoa, flaxseed and barley; as well as two Super Fruits flavours with real pieces of fruit and added nutrients Blueberry, Cranberry & Guava and Raspberry, Apple & Acai.

Compelling health claims support both ranges: Super Grains contain protein, fibre and omega 3 for a ’body boost’ while Super Fruits contain Vitamin B6, C, D and zinc to support the immune system. And both ranges contain the goodness of 100% wholegrain oats with beta-glucan, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.

As for ’overnight oats’, last summer the Quaker brand linked up with best-selling author and Instagram sensation, Deliciously Ella, to develop three new recipes with ’how to’ video content, to show consumers just how easy these tasty breakfasts are to make. The idea is simple; consumers put uncooked oats, milk or yogurt, fruit and other toppings of their choice into a container, which they leave in the fridge to chill overnight. The result is a nutritious and convenient breakfast for the morning.

However simple overnight oats may seem, it’s not convenient for everyone, which is why Quaker has just launched a new Overnight Oats pot, with an incredibly simple instruction to add milk in the evening, refrigerate and enjoy chilled in the morning.

There are two flavours: Blueberry & Cranberry and Red Apple. Rrp is 99p.

For those consumers who prefer to make their own overnight oats concoctions, Quaker has teamed up with designer duo MissPrint to give shoppers the chance to get hold of free limited-edition mason jars. Each of the promotional packs of 1kg Quaker Oats has a unique code which shoppers can enter online at to receive their designer jar there are a total of five to collect.

Eric Williams, Quaker Oats marketing manager, comments: "Overnight oats is an exciting breakfast trend which is gaining momentum, with 35% of people already aware of it. We are confident this partnership with MissPrint will further promote the overnight oat sensation and resonate with shoppers. With 62% of cereal occasions including fruit, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to drive sales in the summer months outside of the usual season for porridge with this chilled format."

In addition to the on-pack promotion, Quaker will be giving away sets of mason jars online and sharing bespoke recipes, alongside a huge digital campaign including video content via celebrity influencers’ social media platforms.

Of course Quaker isn’t the only breakfast product backed by marketing activity. After a five-year break in commercial marketing, Kellogg’s kicked off this year with a £10m investment in its oldest and most-loved brand Corn Flakes.

The cereal giant featured real fans sharing their perfect bowls of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. The idea was to ignite the power of the iconic family brand and remind cereal fans just how much the UK loves Corn Flakes. Then, last month, the brand teamed up with Channel 4’s Gogglebox families to launch a bespoke ad campaign where they discuss their perfect bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Viewers are encouraged to share and join the discussion about what makes their perfect bowl on social media using #myperfectbowl.

Over at Monster Brands, Honey Monster has been relaunched plus there’s a new product Honey Monster Oat Puffs. The new variant is ’amber’ on sugar, just like its sister-product Honey Monster Puffs and is also high in fibre and a source of protein.

Monster Brands is also responding to changing consumer shopping habits by introducing a new line of 35g sample-size bags for its Honey Monster Puffs and Good Grain brands. The bags are ideal for those looking to grab cereal on-the-go or those who are looking for a smaller, convenient portion.

One of the most convenient early morning food comes in the form of the breakfast drink, and Weetabix On The Go has added a new chocolate flavour to its Protein range, which joins the brand’s Strawberry & Raspberry and Vanilla variants.

To coincide with the launch, Weetabix On The Go has also introduced new packaging to improve stand-out on shelf and give greater distinction between the regular range of Weetabix drinks.

According to Nielsen, 44% of British consumers actively try to incorporate more protein into their diet and, as such, protein drinks make up a quarter of the breakfast drinks category. Weetabix On The Go is the clear market leader with a 76% share in the breakfast drinks sector, driving category growth, up 70% year-on-year.

Zoe Brimfield, brand manager, Weetabix On The Go, comments: "Our Protein On The Go range makes protein more accessible to the masses at breakfast time and since launching, it has been flying off the shelves. We have sold 40 million bottles to date and business is doubling each year. Enhancing the range by introducing chocolate, the best-selling flavour in the breakfast drinks category, will only help drive sales further."

Finally, sticking with drinks, Tropicana has launched the Morning Boost smoothie, which combines fruit juice, fruit purée and cereals. Described as a "first of its kind" and a source of fibre, vitamin C and one of your five a day, it is available in the following flavours in a 750ml size (rrp £2.99): Apple & Pear; Orange, Banana & Mango; and Forest Fruit. Orange, Banana & Mango is also available in an on-the-go 330ml format (rrp £1.99).

Sophie Giraudel, brand manager for Tropicana, comments: "Our innovative new Morning Boost smoothie does exactly what it says on the bottle. It performed incredibly well in consumer testing, with 88% of people stating that they intend to purchase the product because of the perfect consistency making it easy to drink."

Natural place for brekkie shoppers

Gavin Rothwell, senior retail insight manager at IGD, says the breakfast mission is a key opportunity for forecourt retailers with a food-to-go offer.
"Almost a third (31%) of food-to-go shoppers are buying breakfast-on-the-go and forecourts have a great opportunity to outperform here," he says.
"There is a natural alignment between travel locations and the breakfast food-to-go shopper, as it is a time of day when many people are on-the-go and tight on time, and we’ve seen a number of travel locations making the most of this. As time is at a premium, retailers need to deliver solutions that are quick for staff in-store to serve and easy to consume.
"Price is a key consideration for shoppers at breakfast 38% of breakfast-to-go shoppers tell us they are influenced by price. In terms of what satisfies them, 61% tell us they are happy with the speed and efficiency of service, while three in five (60%) say they are pleased with the quality of their products.
"Of course, there are many different aspects to what makes up breakfast, and while a quality hot drinks offer would appear to be the starting point, it’s not enough on its own to satisfy breakfast shoppers, who have a variety of demands. While 38% of those buying breakfast tell us they buy a hot drink for breakfast-on-the-go, making it the most commonly purchased product, other key categories include pastries (24%), fruit (16%) and hot food (15%). Fourteen per cent tell us they bought a yogurt/dessert, while the same proportion of breakfast food-to-go shoppers told us they bought soft drinks."

Belvita is number one

Belvita Breakfast is not only the UK’s number one healthy biscuit (Nielsen), it is now the UK’s number two biscuit brand. Since launch in 2009, Belvita has seen huge success and is now worth £78.1m, currently showing 11% growth.
The Belvita concept was founded on the insight that one in three people in the UK skip breakfast during the working week, with the main reason being a lack of time. More recently, research undertaken by the brand found that nearly half of Brits (46%) state they are more likely to have a good day if they eat breakfast. Brand owner Mondelez says that as out-of-home breakfasts are currently seeing double-digit growth, retailers have a great opportunity to drive sales by offering convenient formats which cater to consumers’ busy lives.
Belvita Breakfast is available in convenient single packs, in several variants: Strawberry Duo Crunch, Honey & Nut, Crunchy Hazelnut and Soft Bakes Choc Chip. There will be sampling activity as part of the brand’s Good Mornings campaign, which also includes two new TV commercials.

Retailer view

David Heenan
Heenan’s Barbican SuperValu, Newcastle, Down:
"Breakfast is a crucial part of our business, with sales comparable to our lunch trade. We open at 6am and customers are able to get a hot breakfast from 6.15am onwards. We have everything from a sausage roll for under £1 to a full Ulster Fry for £2.49. This is popular with the locals and all the white van men who come in. A lot of people will buy a hot breakfast plus a sandwich or a filled roll to eat later on. We don’t do any sort of link deals for breakfast; there’s no need for them as business is good."