Branded links with popular licences are driving growth
The kids' sector is a major driver in the cereals market ­ not least because of the potential for product licensing.
A spokesman for Asda explains: "The main growth area within cereals is kids' cereals and this is related to a strong programme of branded kids' NPD launches over the past 12 months. Growth has also been driven by branded links with strong licences such as films or characters."
Similarly, Shaun Quinton, senior buyer at Budgens, says: "Tie-ins with popular children's characters and licensing on cereal products certainly have an enormous influence on purchase. A noticeable recent deal was the popular Nestlé Cereal Partners Monsters Inc Promotion. A special Monsters Inc cereal was created and the promotion extended to Cereal Partners' other established children's cereals."
Certainly, the Monsters Inc cereal was something of a coup in the market as it didn't just take a movie character and link it to an existing cereal, it created a whole new product and packaging designed around the character.
Launched in January last year as a limited edition to coincide with the release of the film, Monsters Inc was the first licensed cereal for Cereal Partners ­ although the company now has a whole team devoted to licensing. The 3D packaging featured the film's three main characters ­ Mike, Sulley and Boo ­ and Cereal Partners says it reached a 0.5% volume share and 0.9% value share [4 w/e 24 Feb 02].
"It was a breakthrough for the category and gave the consumers something really new and exciting," says Dez Timmiss, Cereal Partners' marketing director.
"We decided to do this because both the trade and ourselves could see Monsters Inc was going to be a real hit, so a typical on-pack promotion wouldn't do it justice."
Cereal Partners, which has now established a link with Disney, has since had success with other limited editions, although these have tended to be linked to a parent brand. For example, during a Spiderman promotion with Cinnamon and Golden Grahams, a limited edition cereal was produced with special spidery images'.
Kellogg's, meanwhile, has cashed in on the popularity of The Simpsons TV show with Bart Simpson's No ProblemOs cereal. But its global licensing deal with Disney ­ which has already seen Hunny B's arrive on shelf fronted by an on-pack Pooh Bear ­ is what promises to impress this year.
Kellogg's sales director, Kevin Jones, says: "Licensing continues to be important right across our range. It allows us to offer greater choice and provides new ways for consumers to get closer to their favourite characters, icons or entertainment stars."
Meanwhile, Quaker's Martin Knowles says licensing can work well even as a boost to existing cereals with their own character' ­ such as Sugar Puffs.
"We put characters on the pack alongside the Honey Monster but the challenge is to make the product recognisable," he says.
"We did this with Scooby-Doo as a tie-in with the movie and it was one of our most successful licensing deals last year."