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Oatmeal is timeless and timely at the same time

Oatmeal is timeless and timely at the same time


Last Published: 12/21/2017

Oatmeal is timeless and timely at the same time

By Andrew May, Director of Sales Strategy, PepsiCo


Oatmeal has been an American breakfast staple for over 150 years.  A key reason: oatmeal has the fundamentals that keep it relevant—it’s warm, hearty, wholesome and a good value. But, most importantly, it has adapted over time. It helped Americans feel patriotic during the world wars of the early 20th century; gave comfort through the tumultuous times of the civil rights movement; and was a standby for good health during the fitness craze of the 1980’s. Oatmeal is always a bit nostalgic.

Today, it fits in with our desire to eat more whole foods, our gourmet palates, and our desire to customize. It’s portable for our busy lifestyles. It is the perfect blank canvas ready for toppings of the ingredient we’re obsessing over at that very moment—sriracha, acai berries, coconut oil. But unlike these fad foods, oatmeal is here to stay.

Whole grains are among the top five ingredients consumers deliberately add to their diet.

In modern food culture, in which oatmeal’s fresh, less processed health benefits resonate, the distinction and potential oatmeal has to offer excites consumers1:

  • Real Food – Less processed and unadulterated
  • Healthy – Good for heart health and sustained energy
  • Premium Distinctions – Quality and cut (e.g., steel cut, non-GMO)
  • Convenient – Widely available and single serve cups

Consumers consider breakfast the healthiest meal of the day. Nearly half of breakfasts include an item with a “better-for-you” label, such as low- fat, fortified, whole grains, organic, etc.2

Here are several best practices regarding how to merchandise Reimagined Oatmeal:

  • Create flavor excitement by offering a flavor of the day in addition to plain oatmeal.  This works especially well if you are converting a soup station that has multiple kettle wells.
  • Offer an extended array of toppings in additional to the classic - raisins, walnuts and brown sugar.  Toppings give customers the chance to create their own healthful or healthfully indulgent oatmeal by adding items such as: fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and chocolate chips.
  • Merchandise oatmeal beyond the kettle by using one of the new Quaker recipes for oatmeal that can be served from the hot breakfast station.  Customers looking for a change of pace may enjoy delicious creations like Green Oats and Ham or Southwestern Oatmeal. 
  • Make your breakfast bar a destination by using the merchandising material provided by Quaker that suits your operation.

Oatmeal Stations Have Proven to Drive Sales

In winter 2015, the Power Breakfast Bowl program was completed in entegra Healthcare and College & University cafeterias.  The promotion drove purchases up to 300%.


Avg. Weekly Units
Oatmeal Sold

% Chg


Week 1

Week 6


Clinton Community College, Plattsburg, NY




Toumey Hospital, Sumpter, NY




Fordham University




Kent State University




PepsiCo, including the Quaker brand, is one of over 700 supplier partners contracted with the entegra program.

About the Author

Andrew May is Director of Sales Strategy at PepsiCo. He has a focus on sales, strategy and marketing and has worked for premier brands with premium products including Pepsi, Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade.

Pepsico headshot Andrew May.jpg

1 Source: Oatmeal Category, Oct 2015, Hartman-Group

2 Source: Thirtieth Annual Eating Patterns in America, Dec 2015, The NPG Group

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