New Delhi: Nestlé India Ltd, the maker of Maggi instant noodles, now wants to sell packaged breakfast cereals in India, a market where the majority of the 1.3 billion people still prefer a home-cooked breakfast.

The India unit of Swiss food company Nestlé SA. said in a statement on Wednesday that it will start selling Nestlé Breakfast Cereals from Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), a joint venture between Nestle SA and American firm General Mills Inc., in India this year.

The Nestlé India board approved the proposal on Wednesday.

“We firmly believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We also believe eating a nutritious breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day and acts as the foundation for a healthier future. The consumer need for breakfast choices is only growing and companies need to bring more options to satisfy this need. We are therefore pleased to be introducing Nestlé Breakfast Cereals in India. This business complements our current portfolio by combining our expertise in food and this category, globally," Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director, Nestlé India, said in a statement.

India’s breakfast cereal market is projected to touch Rs2,610 crore by 2020, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. The market grew 24% in 2015 to Rs1,440 crore.

According to Euromonitor, US-based Kellogg dominated India’s packaged breakfast cereal market with a 37% share (value terms) in 2015.

PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, the local unit of American food and beverage maker PepsiCo Inc., had a 13.3% share (value), up from 9.5% in 2010, added Euromonitor.

PepsiCo, for the past few years, has been trying to sell Indian food items in a ready-to-cook packaged form. In March 2017, it had launched ready-to-cook idli, dosa, upma and khichdi, hoping to get more Indians to eat packaged breakfast.

But Nestlé will face a challenge from other firms in the breakfast category.

In the past few years, a bunch of multinational and home-grown firms—including Bagrry’s India, Marico Ltd, ITC Ltd, MTR Foods and Dr Oetkers—have made inroads into the breakfast market with products such as muesli, oats, ready-to-cook packets for dosa, idli, uttapam and dhokla as consumer demand rises for healthier, ready-to-cook breakfast.

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