It’s not that millennials won’t eat cereal. Brands just need to think outside of the box.
According to a New York Times article, the cereal industry’s annual profits have fallen by nearly $4 billion since 2000. In those sixteen years, millennials have come of age and taken control over how they start their day. Some balk at the idea of Frosted Flakes while others – 40% in fact – regard cereal as simply too “inconvenient” to fit into their lifestyles.
For some time, brands have tried to reposition cereal away from being exclusively for breakfast. In 2014, Kellogg’s, for example, launched unique food packaging that replaced golden sunrises with the light of the full moon to encourage consumers to consider cereal as a night-time snack. According to Noel Geoffory, senior vice president of marketing for US Morning Foods at Kellogg’s Co., 25% of cereal is consumed outside of the breakfast routine. “As consumers’ lives evolve, there are more ways that we can make our food – and our packaging – more relevant to them,” he told USA Today. Two years on, however, and millennials are still not giving Kellogg’s the time of day.
Sport and cereal are not disparate partners; American cereal brand Wheaties’s partnership with connected fitness platform MapMyFitness is just one of many instances that has moved cereal from sugar rush to workout fuel. This helps to explain the launch of Kith Treats, a cereal bar courtesy of premium athleisure retailer Kith.
Kith’s Brooklyn store is reinventing how the fashion-conscious perceive cereal with an innovative new customer experience. A world away from the technicolour cereal aisles of Kroger and Safeway, Kith Treats is starkly white with black accents. Cereal brands are showcased in lightboxes above the counter and served in creative packaging: shoeboxes, as a nod to Kith’s most popular sneakers.
At Kith Treats it is not the cereal brands themselves that command attention, but key influencers from the world of sport. For example, tennis icon Andre Agassi collaborated on the creation of the ‘The Agassi’, a combination of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs. This menu item comes in a special-edition box, which includes images of the former Wimbledon champion and his famous Nike shoes. It also includes a branded card inside. When customers collect four cards they can trade them in for a modern take on the classic toy at the bottom of the cereal box: a Kith x Nike tennis ball encased in plexiglass.
Premium sportswear may not serve up all the answers for Rice Krispies, but it may just provide a tired category with the brand strategy it needs to make millennials play ball.