Innovation is lacking in the cereals-based food and drink sector, according to emerging evidence from the Cereals Industry Forum. Analysis to date suggests that while some companies are strongly innovative, for a large proportion, innovation is a weakness. According to TNS market information, innovation in the UK grocery market is worth £6.9 billion every year and drives market share. We are concerned that the cereals-based product sector is missing out on this opportunity.

With this in mind, HGCA is helping to fund the dunnhumby Academy, a project looking at the trends behind 12 million supermarket shoppers’ choices and purchasing habits. This academy was set up to give growers and small food producers including bakers access to consumer insights and help drive innovation in different food and drink sectors, including the cereals sector in response to consumer demand.

So far, the dunnhumby project has generated 15 requests for further information from the cereals and oilseeds sector, covering bread, oat products and oil. The consumer data helps identify a target market, noting the regional spread of buying habits across the UK and the age and lifestyle of the potential customer base. This help is greatly appreciated by processors and can make significant differences to their product development.