Nestlé India launches new 'healthy' breakfast cereals in face of growing competition

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé NESPLUS breakfast cereals come in four multigrain variants: Kokos, Choco-Burst Fillows, Strawberry-Burst Fillows and Nutty Honey Granola. ©Nestlé
Nestlé NESPLUS breakfast cereals come in four multigrain variants: Kokos, Choco-Burst Fillows, Strawberry-Burst Fillows and Nutty Honey Granola. ©Nestlé

Related tags: Nestle, India, Cereal, Breakfast

Nestlé India has launched a new range of breakfast cereals – NESPLUS – which the firm says has been tailored to local tastes, and adds another product to the increasingly competitive category.

The new NESPLUS breakfast cereals comprise a combination of wholegrain and multigrain, and aim to offer more high-quality healthy breakfast options for Indian consumers.

The firm says the launch is in line with the firm’s plan to introduce more products focused on nutrition, wellness and health to the Indian market.

The new range of NESPLUS breakfast cereals comes in four multigrain variants: Kokos, Choco-Burst Fillows, Strawberry-Burst Fillows and Nutty Honey Granola. Each of these is a combination of four grains — wheat, rice, oats and the traditional Indian millet, jowar​.

"NESPLUS is specifically designed for the Indian consumer and offers Vitamin D, Calcium, B-Vitamins, Iron, Folic Acid and Fibre, making it a great addition to the breakfast table,” ​said Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director, Nestlé India.

Another key characteristic of NESPLUS is that it remains crunchy in warm milk.

Cereal competition hots up

Not long ago, we reported that Nestlé Breakfast Cereals from Cereal Partners Worldwide (a joint venture between Nestlé SA and General Mills) would be sold in India this year​. CPW has a total of more than 50 brands in about 130 markets around the world.

The brands to be brought into India include popular cereals in Western countries and South East Asia, such as Koko Krunch, Honey Stars and Corn Flakes.

The chairman had said that this was to cater to the growing demand from Indian consumers for a greater choice in breakfast foods.

This move also raised the firm’s competitiveness against rivals in the Indian subcontinent, such as Kellogg’s, PepsiCo and Bagrry’s.

Recently, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) announced plans to take on the competition with a raft of South Asian breakfast product options​ to seize market opportunities. These include new offerings khichdi​, upma​ and pongal​ under HUL’s Ayurveda brand, Ayush.

In recent years, both multinational as well as homegrown firms such as Bagrry’s, Marico, ITC, MTR Foods and Dr Oetkers all carved a niche in the Indian breakfast market with various food products including muesli, oats and local foods such as ready-to-cook idli​, uttapam​ and dhokla​.

In March, PepsiCo had also launched a ready-to-cook range tailored to local taste, 10 years after it brought the Quaker brand to India to sell packaged breakfast foods.

According to a Research & Markets report, the Indian breakfast cereal market in India has grown at an annualised rate of over 22%​ since 2010.

The report added that Kellogg’s, Bagrry’s and PepsiCo Quaker together capture more than three-quarters of the market.

India’s breakfast market is said to be worth about Rs3,000 crore ($440m).

Over in China

Across the pond, another Asian giant is gradually growing bigger on breakfast. According to a recent report from Mintel, the two trends of snacking and ‘naturalness’ have been bringing new opportunities to the breakfast cereal market in China.

Wholegrain claims have increased in frequency, with the number of such new product launches having increased from 6% to 15% from August 2016 to July 2017.

Furthermore, 22% of new breakfast cereal launches from August 2015 to July 2017 have more natural claims, including ‘no additives/preservatives’.

Loris Li, associate director at Mintel Food and Drink, said these trends highlight two potential new directions for breakfast cereal manufacturers — the snack category and the ‘55+’ consumer category, with a particular interest in ‘all-natural’ products.

“(Chinese) Consumers have a preference for all-natural snack foods, and natural breakfast cereal brands may consider adopting healthy snack positioning, and in doing so may be able to increase revenue and drive growth,” ​said Li.

One example is Calbee’s Frugra, which used to be China’s most popular granola offering, and which many consumers still view as a healthy snack rather than breakfast food. References to Frugra as a snack are common on WeChat, according to Li.

The main reason for its popularity is its nutrient content, which originates from a high concentration of dried fruits, cereals and seeds. Its crisp texture and rich taste also attract consumers.

In another example, Walmart’s Sam’s Club has been collaborating with Chinese online grocery retailer YHD (Yihaodian), to promote Kellogg’s cereal as being a good choice for breakfast and which is equally good as an afternoon snack.

The growing middle class and e-commerce purchases in China have also brought greater opportunities for food firms.

Late last year, Nestlé brought Australian cereal and snack bar brand Uncle Toby’s to China​ through one of its biggest e-commerce platforms, VIP.com, opening the door to a customer base of over 300 million.

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