Expectations, needs and segmentation of healthy breakfast cereal consumers

C. M. Lee, H. R. Moskowitz, Soo-Yeun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cereal is the number one food choice for half of the American population who consume breakfast. The growing concern about obesity makes the availability of a healthy breakfast cereal (HBC) a key goal to achieve for healthy consumer lifestyles. This study investigated various factors that consumers associate with HBC, including ingredients, health claims, sensory benefits, brand names and pricing, using conjoint analysis. Consumers were motivated to buy HBC if it tastes good, but were not willing to pay more than $2.49 for 14 oz of HBC. Overall, consumers expect HBC to contain high fiber, low fat and sugar, and multigrain ingredients. Consumers were divided into four segments, including the "healthy choosy " (n = 171), "basic" (n = 109), "sensory thriller" (n = 38) and "static" (n = 49). Descriptions of soy ingredient and soy health claims were rated favorably only by the "healthy choosy" segment. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS The findings from this research will benefit the healthy breakfast cereal (HBC) manufacturers when developing or improving their products. Manufacturers should not ignore basic ingredients such as fiber, sugar and fat. Although 47% of the respondents were classified as "healthy choosy," new or improved products should be introduced at a higher level of consumer acceptance without outrageous pricing to encourage respondents from "basic" and "sensory thriller" segments to switch to HBC. In particular, soy-based HBC elements were not received well by the respondents in the "sensory thriller" segment, signaling a need to improve the consumer acceptance of soy-based HBC with improved product and marketing. By selecting respondents from the study, we will be able to conduct a qualitative study to reveal the underlying factors for their choice of HBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-607
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Sensory Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Sensory Systems


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