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Cereals and grains

Key industry growth drivers

gfmBy far the fastest growth in cereals stems from Africa, led by Sub-Saharan Africa, but with the Middle East and North Africa also growing strongly.

Product trends

Rice, pasta and noodles are, in many countries, basic staple foods purchased by most households. Trends tend to echo economic performance: when incomes rise, consumers trade up to better quality staples – in low-income households, this means trading up to packaged and branded varieties; in high-income households, to added-value varieties, such as organic or fortified versions.

There is however, a growing fear of carbs making way for gluten free and wheat alternatives. As such, economic performance largely dictates the trends in staple foods. In developed markets, particularly the US, cereals, rice and grains are suffering from a trend away from carbohydrate-heavy diets towards protein-centric diets. This has created opportunities for new staple alternatives, such as gluten-free pasta, organic pasta, and pastas made from alternative grains such as spelt, rice and corn.

Processing methods

The range and awareness of wholegrains is gaining momentum and products are processed including ancient grains such as kamut, farro, spelt, triticale, rye, oats etc. Gluten-free options now include corn, rice, millet, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, teff and buckwheat are also increasingly available and appeal to consumers looking to avoid gluten and improve their digestive health. Wholegrains fit well within the overall trend towards the consumption of healthier foods.

Growth prospects come instead in cereals that offer newness and/or healthy options (Asian-style noodle dishes, quinoa-based pasta) or offer added-value convenience (microwaveable rice, chilled pasta and noodle dishes).

Breakfast cereals face similar prospects, with a reputation for being unhealthy and due to competition from other convenient options, such as breakfast bars. However, health positioned options such as granolas and mueslis are faring better.

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