Oats to Be the Highest Growing Category in the India Breakfast Cereal Market: Bonafide Research

Increasing demand for health foods, preference of Indians towards hot breakfasts, well-known players entering the category and the demand from instant savoury oats will be key reasons behind the growth.

​The oat, sometimes called the common oat, is a type of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name. Oats gain part of their typical flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not shred away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of fiber and nutrients. Thus, oats are an excellent source of carbohydrate, protein and dietary fibre. In addition, they contain beta-glucan soluble fibre which helps reduce cholesterol. The Indian oats story started as early as in 2006 when Quaker launched its plain oats in the market.

According to recently published report of Bonafide Research “India Breakfast Cereal Market Outlook, 2021”, the market for oats is poised to grow at a CAGR of 21% in the period between 2015 and 2021. Oats has already emerged as a popular breakfast cereal on the back of increasing demand for health food in metros and big cities. Oats health benefits will perhaps be the biggest trigger to their adoption by Indians. As oats are usually cooked by boiling them in milk, the preference of Indians towards hot breakfasts is also satisfied.

Quaker Oats, which is the World's No.1 Oats brand, entered India in 2006. It is through Quaker’s launch that oats began to be viewed as something more than just horse feed, at least in the bigger cities and metros. Quickly catching on to the euphoria of a new breakfast menu, Marico, Britannia, Kellogg’s and GSK Consumer launched their own brands of oats. Moreover, two of the country's largest food companies, Hindustan Unilever and Nestle recently launched oats under Knorr and Maggi brands, respectively, as healthy extensions of their noodle segment. Perhaps in no other category have so many famous brands entered the Indian foods market in such quick succession. The battle of the oats is in its early days but it will intensify as multiple brands fight to strengthen their positions in the market.

Instant savoury oats are performing better than sweet oats, as there are a host of sweet breakfast cereal alternatives. The most popular form of oat is porridge with milk. Well accepted products such as biscuits and noodles containing oats will make consumers more open to trying out oats since they would come with assured taste and flavour, and healthy too. Traditionally, companies were focused on South India, which accounts for more than three-fourth of the total oats market but recently began expanding nationally. The oats market is currently under-penetrated and new entrants and new launches will help it grow.

Majority of the oats consumers buy plain oats primarily because it is recommended to them by their doctors or friends as a healthy breakfast option. But flavoured oats have become increasingly popular in last two to three years. Taste is clearly a window of opportunity for marketers to introduce new recipes, interesting mixes and different flavours. Given the inherent health benefits of oats, tastier options will surely be a winning mix. Therefore, Quaker Oats' masala or Saffola's lemon variants definitely have ample opportunities to penetrate deeper into the Indian market.

Source: Bonafide Research & Marketing Pvt. Ltd.