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Cereal Partners Worldwide / Nestlé Cereals

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Despite its name, Nestlé Cereals is actually a joint venture in virtually all global markets except North America between Nestlé and General Mills, marketing both companies' cereal products. The corporate entity is in fact Cereal Partners Wordwide, owned 50:50 by its two shareholders, though in most countries operations are handled out of the local Nestlé offices. CPW now covers more than 130 countries around the globe, and sales have effectively doubled since 2003. The most significant markets are the UK, Australia, France and Mexico, and the company's brands include General Mills' Cheerios and Shredded Wheat portfolios, as well as Uncle Toby's, Fitness, Chocapic, Cookie Crisp and Oats & More.


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Brands & Activities

Cereal Partners operates in more than 130 countries worldwide. Among the few remaining significant markets where it does not have a direct presence are the US and Canada (where Nestlé and General Mills operate separately), Southern and Central Africa, India and Japan. The group estimated a 25% global value share (to Kellogg's 43%), but it has the leading position in several countries in Eastern Europe and Asia including Poland (with 46% share in 2016), Russia (39%) and Indonesia (60%).

The UK is Cereal Partners' biggest market by value, and also its oldest. Cereal Partners UK ranks as the local #3 behind Kellogg's and Weetabix with combined sales of around £170m and around 10% value share of the £1.66bn cold & hot cereal sector. However, the overall market has come under intense pressure as consumers abandon the traditional sit-down breakfast. Virtually all brands suffered a decline in sales in 2015 and 2016. According to Nielsen figures (year to Oct 2016, The Grocer), Shreddies overtook Cheerios for the first time that year to become the company's top-selling brand in the UK, and the #6 cold cereal overall, with sales estimated at £46m. Cheerios was the #7 brand with sales of £45m, followed by Shredded Wheat (#9, £34m). Other brands were all under £15m. Combined share by value was around 15%. The portfolio also includes several spinoffs from Shredded Wheat (Bitesize, Fruitful etc) and Shreddies (Frosted Shreddies, Coco Shreddies), as well as Curiously Cinnamon (a rebranding of what were previously Cinnamon Grahams), Clusters and kids favourites Golden Nuggets and Nesquik Cereal. More recent additions to the local portfolio are Cookie Crisp and Oats & More. Mud & Worms was originally introduced as a tie-in with the movie Shrek 2, but lasted for a full year before being discontinued in 2006. Cereal Partners is also a leading supplier of private label cereals to supermarkets, and the company markets cereal bar variants of its Cheerios, Nesquik and Cookie Crisp brands.

In 2014 the company claimed a breakthrough with the UK launch of Gluten-Free Corn Flakes, the first mainstream gluten-free breakfast cereal. There are also a variety of low sugar, high protein and better-for-you oat-based and multigrain variants.

The group's second largest international market is now Australia, although the company still trails local market leader Kellogg's. In 2006, Nestlé acquired local food company Uncle Toby's, whose breakfast brands now fall under Cereal Partners' control. As a result, local market share by value leapt from 2% to around 24% by 2015, though still well behind Kellogg's 31%. As one of the country's best-known brands, the entire portfolio of cereals are now marketed in Australia under the Uncle Toby's umbrella. Other important markets include France, Mexico and Italy. The two main international brands are Fitness, which is the group's single largest-selling product, available in well over 50 countries; and kids' cereal Chocapic, the oldest Nestlé cereal brand in mainland Europe, also widely available in Latin America and the Middle East, and marketed under the name Koko Krunch in Asia. Others include Estrelitas, Zucosos, Cini-Minis and others. The company owns and markets the Corn Flakes brandname in several European and Latin American territories and also makes cereal brands based on Nestlé's Lion and Crunch chocolate bars.

According to Datamonitor figures for 2011, Cereal Partners had around 18% share by value of the cereal market in Europe to Kellogg's 32%. Local shares for key markets were 13% in Germany in 2016 (to Kellogg's 19%), 25% in France (to Kellogg's 39%), 12% in Italy (Kellogg's 55%) and 9% in Spain (Kellogg's 49%). It is the #1 cereal marketer in China with almost 28% share, albeit of a very small local market.

According to General Mills, combined sales for CPW were $1.67bn for the year to March 2016, down 12% on the year before, partly as a result of exchange rate fluctuation.


Cereal Partners was first established in 1990 to market both companies' cereal brands in Europe. At the time, Nestlé had cereal operations in several countries, but General Mills, the US #2 behind Kellogg, had virtually no international presence. The first market targeted by the partnership was the UK, the world's biggest cereal-eating country after the US. In 1990, Cereal Partners UK acquired the cereal portfolio of Rank Hovis MacDougall Foods, including Shredded Wheat and Shreddies.

Shredded Wheat had been invented in 1892 by American lawyer Henry D Perky, and was in fact the world's first breakfast cereal, developed a full year before the Kellogg brothers got in on the act. It began to be imported into the UK from Canada in around 1898, and was manufactured locally from 1926. (The American business was acquired separately by Nabisco in 1928, and is now part of Kraft). Shreddies, a smaller variant targeting the children's market, was launched in 1955.

With two leading brands already in its portfolio, Cereal Partners then introduced a number of General Mills' American cereal products including Cheerios and Golden Grahams. The joint venture moved into mainland Europe later that year. It now distributes both companies' cereal brands everywhere but in the US and Canada. In 2002 the business took its first steps into China with the local launch there of Milk & Egg Stars cereal. Other brands have followed in its wake. Cookie Crisp was introduced in the UK in 2002, and later rolled out in other markets in 2003 and 2004. Australia was home to the introduction of Nestlé Milo cereal in 2003; France and Germany were the debut markets for chocolate-hazelnut Chokella in 2005.

Last full revision 13th January 2017

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