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Morrisons has seen the biggest increase, putting up the shelf price of its cereals by an average of 14p

Cereal is becoming more responsible. A recent spate of sugar reduction and functional NPD from the likes of Kellogg’s was followed last month by Lidl, Aldi and Asda dropping the cartoon characters from their sugary own-label packs to curb pester power.

But while cereal suppliers are making healthy moves, their goods are getting more expensive in the major mults.

The average shelf price of ready-to-eat and hot cereals is up 3% year on year - the equivalent of 7p - across Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose [Edge by Ascential 52 w/e 18 February 2020].

Morrisons has seen the biggest increase. It has put up the shelf price of its cereals by an average of 14p, with around 30 SKUs getting dearer. In the past few weeks alone, its 500g pack of own-label Cornflakes has gone from £1 to £1.10, while the 750g SKU is up 3p to £1.45. Meanwhile, at £2.95, its 750g pack of own-label Superberry Granola is 95p more expensive than this time last year.

Morrisons has also upped the price of a number of branded cereal SKUs, including the 24-biscuit pack of Weetabix (up 30p year on year), 1kg Scott’s Old Fashioned Porage Oats (up 20p) and 500g Kellogg’s Special K (up 8p).

In fact, Kellogg’s has experienced around 20 price increases in the big supermarkets over the 12 months. Its 8x24g variety pack is up 22p in Asda to £2.20, while a 450g box of Corn Flakes in Tesco has gone from £1.75 to £1.89. In Sainsbury’s, three SKUs of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Clusters - Chocolate Curls, Honey & Nut (45og) and Peanut Butter (525g) - are up by as much as 10p each.

“A number of factors influence prices, which mean they can go both up and down throughout the year,” says a spokesman for Sainsbury’s. “We aim to provide our customers with the best possible choice and value every time they shop with us.”

A spokeswoman for Kellogg’s says: “We don’t determine the price people pay for our foods in-store. That’s the supermarkets’ job. The fact is a bowl of cereal remains a really good value breakfast. A 30g bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes works out as 11p - the same price it was six years ago.”

Cereal’s prices are up in the mults despite the prices of wheat and oats being lower year on year.

“Milling oats in particular have seen the largest drop off in value,” says senior AHDB analyst James Webster. “We had quite large oat production in 2019/20 and that has pressured the market. Similar is true for wheat, although prices have firmed of late with lower expectations of the 2020/21 crop.”

However, Webster stresses “the link between the cost of the raw grain and the processed product is somewhat dislocated by the production process. As such, the link between [breakfast] cereal prices and grain prices is somewhat distorted.”