Can Australian Branding Revolutionise the UK Breakfast Market?

In the early 1990s, a trend started to emerge in urban areas of Western Europe and Australasia: breakfast skipping. It has since grown in popularity to become part of today’s lifestyles. However, this term is not entirely correct as most consumers are still eating breakfast, just not breakfast cereals.

As consumer lifestyles become increasingly busy, consumers are seeking quick and convenient ways to snack on-the-go, in transit or during working hours. In addition, in recent years, the health and wellness factor has come into play, with many consumers now looking not only for the easy, but also for the most nutritious option. As lives get busier, what is still widely considered the most important meal of the day is often missed.

Breakfast product manufacturers have picked up on this trend by offering more portable products, such as Belvita’s Breakfast Biscuits, Quaker’s OatSo Simple Breakfast Pot and Weetabix’s On the Go Breakfast Drink, all perceived to be healthy and which can be consumed on the go. A recent entrant to this market is Up&Go, an Australian brand that aims to redefine and revolutionise the UK breakfast market. The question is, can it really do so?

Bringing a ray of sunshine to UK breakfast options

Sanitarium’s Up&Go liquid breakfast was launched in Australia 15 years ago, and has since achieved sales of over US$140 million in that market, making it the second largest dairy flavoured milk drinks brand. It is being brought to the UK by the new business Life Health Foods UK – a joint venture between Sanitarium and Australian investment vehicle The Wingate Group. Up&Go’s UK version of the nutritious breakfast drink is getting added vitamin D to “bring a little ray of Australian sunshine” to UK consumers.

Recent innovative breakfast products are resonating well with consumers in the UK, with sales of breakfast bars, cereal pots and drinking milk products increasing at the expense of RTE cereals. Value sales of hot cereals such as PepsiCo’s OatSo Simple Breakfast Pots, have more than doubled in the last five years, whilst other cereals achieved a CAGR of just 3% and consumption per person has actually declined. A number of new brands, such as Eat Natural, 9bar and Up&Go, have entered the retail environment at a particularly challenging time, but aim to exploit the relatively untapped opportunity offered by the breakfast on-the-go trend by offering innovative products. Liquid breakfasts are new to the UK, but are expected to grow substantially in the next five years.

Bouncy branding

Sales of Selected Breakfast Brands in the UK 2009-2014 (US$ million)


Source: Euromonitor International

Note: * States Up&Go’s Australia Sales (US$ million)

Up&Go is facing competition from other successful players in the UK breakfast market, such as Mondelez whose breakfast biscuit Belvita has grown by over 500% between 2009 and 2014 to achieve global sales of US$810 million, and Weetabix’s flavoured milk drink, a direct competitor. Up&Go aims to distinguish itself from these and similar market players by focusing on a brand that connects.

In an increasingly health and time conscious consumer market, Up&Go aims to create an aspirational lifestyle brand that stands for being active, adventurous, individual and straight talking: “Rather Australian”, as the CEO James McMaster puts it. In an attempt, and a very original one at that, to build momentum around the brand, Up&Go even erected a giant inflatable Sydney Harbour Bridge on London’s Southbank to mark its UK product launch.

A fad to change the market

Up&Go’s provocative UK marketing campaign around the “Aussies Suck” advertisements and rather racy Bondi beach commercial have definitely caught the attention of the nation. With UK sales of RTE cereals set to increase by less than 2% in real terms between 2014 and 2019, there is definitely scope for healthy, nutritious and convenient breakfast options in the UK breakfast market. However, whether a breakfast drink built around the appeal and lifestyle of Down Under can truly revolutionise this market is still to be determined.