Britons are hot for porridge, leaving traditional cereals in the shade

Britain’s growing appetite for porridge has caused the hot cereals market to double in size over the past five years.

New research has shown that almost half (49%) of Brits eat porridge, with 23% of those having a bowl almost every day.

According to the 2013 Mintel UK Breakfast Cereals report, this has helped increase the size of the hot cereals market to almost £241m. This growth has been driven by an influx of value-added formats such as instant pots as sachets, with volume sales rising 20% over the period.

“With an increased selection of higher-priced porridge options now available, Brits have not just been consuming more porridge, but trading up to more varieties of flavours and packaging options when they do,” said Mintel food and drink analyst Heidi Lanschuetzer. “While porridge has found a way to tap into the out-of-home breakfast occasion, the segment has also benefited from oats’ inherent health benefits, notably the fact that they can lower cholesterol, as well as their widely held associations with satiety – a factor which is of particular importance when it comes to buying breakfast cereals.

She added there was still strong potential for future growth – particularly in areas such as vitamin or mineral fortification.

The report found that ready-to-eat cereals, which make up 85% of the cereals market, were struggling in comparison to porridge. It estimated value sales for 2013 would be up 1% up on last year to £1.4bn, while volume sales are estimated to fall by 4%.

“RTE cereals have suffered from the rising competition posed by alternative breakfast products such as breakfast biscuits, cereal bars and pastries, which lend themselves better for the on-the-go occasion, as well as from the growing popularity of porridge,” added Lanschuetzer.