Cereal is one of America’s favorite breakfast foods. It is a convenient and affordable way to start the day, and there are countless varieties to choose from.

But who is the target market for cereal? And what motivates them to buy one type of cereal over another? What are some of the trends in this industry and how do they influence the consumer’s purchasing decisions?

In this article, we will explore these questions and more. So sit down, pour yourself a bowl of your favorite cereal, and let’s get started!

Target Market for Cereal
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Target Market for Cereal: Types of Cereals

Cereals are convenient because they are easy to prepare and they come in a variety of flavors, textures and nutrition profiles. They are popular with anyone looking for a quick and easy breakfast that is filling and satisfying. Plus their taste can be tailored to appeal to adults as well as children.

For instance, kids’ cereals are typically sweet, brightly colored, and shaped like characters or objects from popular culture.

Cereals for adults are often made to meet the dietary needs of adults and can be a good source of fiber.

While there are hundreds of types of breakfast cereals, broadly speaking cereals can be classified into these categories:

  1. Hot Cereals: Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Grits, Farina.
  2. Cold Cereals: Corn flakes, Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran.
  3. Granola and Trail Mixes: These are mixes that can be eaten as either hot or cold cereals. They usually have grains, nuts and dried fruit.
  4. Puffed Cereals: These are made from a grain that is puffed up with steam. They come in a variety of flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cinnamon.
  5. Breakfast Bars: These are like granola bars but they are specifically marketed as breakfast foods. They too usually have grains, nuts, and dried fruit.
  6. Cereal Snacks: These are like puffed cereal but made to be a snack on the go.
  7. Organic Cereals: These are cereals that are made exclusively with all organic ingredients.
  8. Gluten-Free Cereals: These are cereals that do not contain gluten.
  9. Vegan Cereals: These are cereals that not only do not contain any animal products but do not use any animal products during production.

Understanding the Target Market for Cereal: How do consumers choose?

Understanding the Target Market for Cereal
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Understanding how consumers choose a specific type or brand of cereal for their daily breakfast helps marketers decide what new cereal products to introduce and how to market them.

While any purchase decision is influenced by many drivers, here are some of the main factors that consumers consider before picking a cereal box from the breakfast aisle of the grocery store.

  1. Taste
  2. Ingredients
  3. Price
  4. Health
  5. Convenience/Ease of Preparation.

Let’s look closely at each of these factors.

1. Taste

Taste is the primary factor that governs most people’s choice of cereal. Most segments of the target market for cereal, especially children, are very particular about taste.

All kids want cereal that tastes good and they are not afraid to let you know if it doesn’t.

In fact, many breakfast cereal companies have “cereal connoisseurs” who taste new cereal recipes before they are released to the public in order to ensure that they meet consumers’ expectations for taste.

2. Ingredients

The ingredients in a cereal are also important to consumers. Most consumers like to know what is in their food and they are becoming increasingly interested in products that are organic, gluten-free, or have no artificial colors or flavors.

Vegans are very conscious about products that may contain some animal by-products. Other consumers are sensitive about ingredients to which they may be allergic.

3. Price

The price of a cereal is also an important consideration for many consumers. Breakfast cereals are often priced according to the target market, with lower-priced cereals aimed at budget-conscious consumers and higher-priced cereals targeted at those who are willing to spend more on quality.

Cereal companies will often segment the market based on price to make sure that there is always a cereal box within the price range of every consumer.

But brand loyalty in the cereal market is also very strong and that means many consumers are willing to pay a bit more to get the cereal of their choice.

4. Health

Health concerns are also a factor for many consumers when choosing a cereal. They want to make sure that they are getting the most possible nutritional value from their breakfast cereal. Some people also look for cereals that are low in sugar or carbohydrates.

Consumers who are conscious of their health are often willing to pay more for a healthy breakfast cereal. For instance, there exist cereals for diabetics, cereals for weight loss, cereals for those with high blood pressure, cereals for those with high cholesterol, etc.

Marketers understand the benefits that people are seeking from their breakfast foods and by segmenting the market based on benefits, they can bring in products to market that specifically target the needs of certain segments of the market.

5. Convenience/Ease of Preparation

Convenience and ease of preparation are also important factors for consumers when choosing a cereal. They want a cereal that is easy to prepare and does not require a lot of cleanup.

Most cereals are designed for convenience. Add milk or yogurt and you’re done. But increasingly companies are marketing full recipes around their cereals. This just means more work for many and takes away a key benefit of cereals which is their ease of preparation.

This means a segment of the target market for cereal will always want cereals that are delicious right out of the box without the need to add anything else to them to make them taste better.


Cereals are easy to prepare and do not require a lot of cleanup making them popular breakfast food.

There are many factors that consumers consider before purchasing a cereal. The most important factor is taste, followed by ingredients, price, health, and convenience/ease of preparation.

Food companies segment the target market for cereal based on these factors in order to target specific groups of consumers. Some people are willing to pay more for a cereal if it meets their specific needs, such as being organic or gluten-free.

By understanding these factors that drive purchase decisions, cereal companies can target their marketing efforts to specific groups of people and ensure that they are meeting the needs of the target market.