Amazing cereal statistics

January 01, 1997
  • Americans buy 2.7 billion packages of breakfast cereal each year. If laid end to end, the empty cereal boxes from one year’s consumption would stretch to the moon and back.
  • The cereal industry uses 816 million pounds of sugar per year, enough to coat each and every American with more than three pounds of sugar. The cereal with the highest amount of sugar per serving is Smacks, which is 53% sugar.
  • Americans consume about ten pounds, or 160 bowls of cereal, per person each year. But America ranks only fourth in per capita cereal consumption. Ireland ranks first, England ranks second, and Australia ranks third. 49% of Americans start each morning with a bowl of cereal, 30% eat toast, 28% eat eggs, 28% have coffee, 17% have hot cereal and fewer than 10% have pancakes, sausage, bagels or french toast.
  • In terms of dollar value breakfast cereals are the third most popular product sold at supermarkets, after carbonated beverages and milk. Cigarettes are the fourth most popular item followed by fresh bread and rolls.
  • In 1993, more than 1.3 million advertisements for cereal aired on American television, or more than twenty-five hours of cereal advertising per day, at a cost of $762 million for air time. Only auto manufacturers spend more money on television advertising than the makers of breakfast cereal.

Adapted from Cerealizing America: The Unsweetened Story of American Breakfast Cereal, by Scott Bruce and Bill Crawford. A no-bowls-barred look at the cereal industry.

From the January/February 1997 issue of Lifelines.