Sales of hot cereals jumped 1.3% to $1.3 million in the 52-week period ending December 30, 2018, compared to the same period a year earlier. Zion Market Research predicts the global oatmeal market is slated to reach $2.5 billion by 2022.
This trend slowly gained traction over the last few years: As Food Dive reports, Americans began to sour on processed cold cereal, especially sugary ones, in favor of more nutritional alternatives, like Greek yogurt. (A strong portion of millennials, meanwhile, think making cereal requires too much work.)
Today you’ll see beautifully adorned oatmeal bowls–accessorized with berries, pumpkin seeds, and geometrically placed apple slices–all over Instagram (over 3 million results) and influencer accounts. Posts often boast hashtags like #healthylifestyle or #fitfoodie. Goop referred to the soggy staple as “Cozy. Hot. Satisfying.”
Quaker, B&G, Post, and Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods lead the oatmeal charge, with the latter posting an 11.3% increase sales and a 13.3% in unit sales. The company is known for its popular microwavable, single-serving oatmeals that come in zesty flavors like cranberry orange and pineapple coconut. This in addition to an assortment of other popular brands, including Nature’s Path, Purely Elizabeth, Earnest Eats, and Modern Oats, which optimized instant oatmeal cups.
Oatmeal is widely regarded as a healthy source of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, with little or no added sugar. This puts in a prime position for today’s discerning shopper: A recent International Food Information Council survey found that 33% of consumers believe sugars are the source of calories most likely to cause weight gain (as opposed to 11% in 2011).
As Americans increasingly look to healthier ingredients, oatmeal is increasingly seen as a better way to start off the morning. This impacted the cereal industry, which saw U.S. cereal demand decrease to $9 billion in 2018 from $9.9 billion five years earlier, according to data from Euromonitor.