R.-T.-E. cereal companies hope 2018 signals a return to category growth.

KANSAS CITY — Executives within the ready-to-eat cereal (R.-T.-E.) category readily admit that certain strategies undertaken over the past year to spur segment growth have failed to deliver.

In the 52 weeks ended Nov. 5, dollar sales in the R.-T.-E. cereal category totaled $8,599,708,672, down 2.3% from the same period a year ago, according to Information Resources, Inc., a Chicago-based market research firm. Unit sales in the category also declined, falling 2.8% to 2,627,353,856.

Cereals vendors chart

Reasons for the decline vary, with some executives citing a switch by consumers to other breakfast alternatives, and other executives acknowledging their companies have fallen short on bringing enough excitement to the category.

But even as sales in the ready-to-eat cereal category continue to slide, executives at the three companies accounting for nearly 80% of U.S. dollar sales remain steadfast in their belief that a rebound may be just around the corner.