DUIVEN, THE NETHERLANDS — Health is quickly becoming a key point of differentiation in the market for cereals, according to Innova Market Insights. Between October 2013 and October 2014, three-quarters of the breakfast cereal launches recorded by the market research firm had some form of a health positioning.

“There is a growing interest in products featuring a more general health or multi-benefit positioning, running alongside the wide range of health benefits now associated with many breakfast cereals,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “This is exacerbated by regulatory restrictions on claims in some regions, including North America and the E.U.”

The most popular health claims in cereals overall included the addition of whole grains and fiber content. The two attributes were featured in nearly 47% of breakfast cereal introductions, with whole grains used in 31% and fiber content in 34%, showing the level of overlap and that a significant number of products use both types of claims.

“Source of protein” claims were also prominent in products, reflecting a rising interest in the food and beverage market as a whole, and were used in just under 10% of cereal launches globally, rising to 15% in the United States.

The U.S. market is a leader in cereal new product development, according to Innova. The growing interest in protein, initially spurred by the development of the market for Greek yogurt, has led to a greater emphasis on protein content by some leading brands. General Mills, Minneapolis, for example, extended its Cheerios and Fiber One lines with protein options. Post Holdings, St. Louis, did the same with its Great Grains Protein option.

In the United Kingdom, new product introductions have focused on a clean label and higher fiber content. There is a rising popularity in granola and muesli due to consumer demand for products are unprocessed and perceived as natural, according to Innova.