Novelty and Nostalgia Keep the Breakfast Cereal Market Growing

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An East London bar made the news in late September when the establishment was mobbed by angry protestors demonstrating against gentrification in Shoreditch.

London is no stranger to protests, riots and violence, but what was it about this particular bar that drew enough ire to incite torch-carrying protestors to hurl bottles, burn an effigy of a policeman and write “scum” across the windows of the establishment?

Well, instead of the offerings usually found in a bar or cafe, this establishment serves something a little different—breakfast cereal.

Yes, the Cereal Killer Café’s menu boats a pretty impressive lineup of American, British and international cereals, as well as a variety of milks and toppings. Bowls start at $4.50 for a medium, which has led critics to decry the place as a hipster blight on the Brick Lane neighborhood, and a sign of impending gentrification.

In a Business Insider article, Jill Lawless writes that “anti-poverty protesters targeted the cafe as a symbol of all that’s wrong with London’s development. Footage filmed from inside showed a group, some in pig masks and carrying torches, shouting outside as staff told customers to go downstairs.”

Despite protests, cereal is snap, crackle and popping its way to success

A PR push from Alan and Gary Keery—the Café’s twin owners—has had a positive effect on the cafes image since the protest took place over a month ago.

Breakfast cereal occupies a special place of both novelty and nostalgia for many adults, and it would seem that the Keery brothers have managed to tap into this sentiment.

In her article, Lawless describes the café as “crowds of students, tourists and families lining up for a bowl of milk-soaked comfort food in the quirky cafe, where shelves are lined with brightly colored cereal boxes and a portrait of Hannibal Lecter made from Cheerios hangs on one wall.”

And a recent review in the travel section of the New York Times will certainly not hurt the Cereal Killer’s profile.

“In line one Thursday at lunchtime, I was dizzied by the choice of 120 boxed cereals lining the exposed-brick walls, plus 30 types of milk (even bubble gum-flavored) and various “cocktails” (think Marshmallow Mateys, Golden Nuggets and a Twinkie in one bowl,” writes Christine Ajudua for the Times.

The UK dominates the global breakfast cereal market

It’s no wonder that cereal cafes have found a home in London. The UK is the second largest contributor to the global breakfast cereal market, coming in just behind the US. And even though basics like Kellogg’s and Weetabix are most popular among the Brits, the market in the UK is expected to grow through 2019, thanks to new innovations and products from vendors.

But it’s not just London that is offering up breakfast cereal for a premium—Toronto boasts its own cereal café (creatively called the Cereal Bar) and New York is home to Milk Bar, which offers a variety of cereal flavored milk.

The visibility created by these novelty cafes has been a boon for the breakfast cereal market worldwide. According to new research from Technavio, 11.09 billion pounds of breakfast cereal was consumed in 2014, and this number is expected to reach 12.25 billion pounds by 2019.

That’s a lot of Cap’n Crunch.