Cereal bars is an interesting category. It is relatively new for shoppers and there is a degree of confusion as to what is a cereal bar and what is a biscuit bar.
In one retailer, the products were split into cereal bars beside the cereal shelves, and biscuit/healthy bars were placed beside biscuits.
Several shoppers Visuality found looking at the bars located beside cereals actually wanted some of the brands that were placed beside biscuits in the stores.
Understandably, they assumed that their desired product was not stocked.
Some shoppers selected another brand, but some left without buying.
This was a relatively frequently shopped category, with nearly two thirds of shoppers buying at least once per week. With the products coming in packs of five, shoppers sometimes bought two boxes of bars to last them the week.
More than a quarter of our shoppers who actually purchased (27%) had not planned to buy cereal bars before they entered the store.
As they passed the cereal bar fixture, half of them saw the products and remembered they needed to buy some, a quarter saw that they were on offer and succumbed, and the rest were prompted to buy simply because the bars looked appealing.
Ten percent of the shoppers said they bought as a result of offers, with some brands offering two for £3.
Shoppers were quite prepared to switch brands/variants or leave till next time.
It is not a category that is deemed a necessity for which they would need to go to another shop.
Shoppers are open to promotions in this category and 67% said they would change brands if tempted by an offer.
Shoppers bought branded products with minimum referencing of own label. Brand loyalty, however, was not as strong as we have seen in other categories, with only 63% of shoppers saying they always bought the same brand.
This could be a result of inexperienced shoppers not having bought the brand for very long, new brands popping up and also offers.
Shoppers were not familiar with the packaging for cereal bars and a few found it difficult to decide which one they had bought previously.
One commented: “I bought a green packet last week but I can’t remember which it was. That’s why I’m buying two - it must be one of these.”
There is less grab and go behaviour at this display than Visuality has seen at other product categories.
Half of shoppers said they bought a specific product because they liked it, 10% because it was on special offer and then 5% each because they had had it before, it was low in calories, they fancied a change, or they had not seen the line before.
Some 54% considered other products before choosing.
Half of the shoppers had no comments to make about the cereal bar display.
The remainder were divided between those who thought that the display on the fixture was “eyecatching” or with “plenty of choice”, and those who thought that splitting the products between biscuits and cereal was confusing.