Screaming. This is an actual serving suggestion from Weetabix 😂 pic.twitter.com/OunlHKjtYv
— James Kavanagh (@JamesKavanagh_) January 11, 2017
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These crunchy wheat cakes are a blank breakfast canvas enjoyed by thousands. But how should you eat Weetabix?
The task of finding out how people eat their cereal might seem random but, like many other brands that produce food with customisable toppings, knowing how exactly customers are choosing to consume is is important.
Beyond following people into their homes to examine how meals are prepared (a costly undertaking that may not prove very representative), it’s hard to get real insight into how people prefer to eat their products and thus uncover innovative recipes, favorite techniques and new ways to present the food in stores and marketing materials.
But where else could researchers find insights into how people prepare their food? It’s not like people are inclined to report their cereal preparation techniques online in a way that the researchers, with the correct tools, can easily search to uncover patterns and interesting anomalies.
The Brandwatch React team monitored mentions of Weetabix across social media back to the 1st of January.
Applying the powerful tools that come with Brandwatch Analytics to finding out how people like their Weetabix isn’t the weirdest thing we’ve done, and we thought it was an important issue to get to the bottom of.
One thing is absolutely for sure: the dry little wheat cakes can’t be eaten by themselves unless for a dare. But the temperature and accompanying ingredients to Weetabix have been at the center of a fiery debate recently, and we felt it could no longer go unresolved.
Though they are traditionally served with hot or cold milk (we’ll get to that later), the makers of Weetabix have been fueling heated arguments by publishing exotic serving suggestions for the cereal. Some of them haven’t gone down eggcellently.
In fact, one writer for The Guardian wrote that she nearly choked attempting the “Benedict’s Eggs” recipe.
“Weetabix with ham and eggs” was at the center of a significant spike in mentions of the company on the 11th of January.
The second spike concerned price rises with the lower pound following the EU Referendum vote, with many British brands being affected by recent economic uncertainty.
While we were there, we also took a look at mentions by time of day, finding that mentions saw a predictable spike around breakfast (UK time), though they seemed fairly popular throughout the day, especially around 7pm.
Perhaps surprisingly, male-categorized authors are most vocal about their Weetabix preferences.
Examining the topping options
It seems the debate over how exactly one should prepare the cereal has opened up cracks between households.
Where once cereal preparation was a fairly private affair, social media and our willingness to share our food choices has revealed differences that have startled us.
Lifelong cold-milk-and-Weetabix fans have been flabbergasted by the idea that their next door neighbour could be soiling their cereal with alternative toppings.
Just found out that people put butter on Weetabix and eat it as a snack, who are these people they are wrong in the head
— George Prevett (@PrevettG) January 1, 2017
We broke the mentions of Weetabix down using the serving suggestions published on the Weetabix website at the time of writing.
Using the ingredients provided on the website, as well as a few others we found that were prominent in the Weetabix data, we broke them down into four categories – nuts/seeds, spreads, fruit/veg and berries.
We searched each ingredient within ten words of the word “Weetabix” and counted the mentions that suggested the ingredients were being eaten with Weetabix (filtering out Weetabix products that aren’t usually consumed in a bowl).
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Butter (including peanut butter and almond butter) is one of the more controversial toppings in the conversation and owns the spreadable share of voice. This is the most popular category for male-categorized authors.
Somehow, Marmite snuck in there too.
Has anyone had a weirder lunch than Rob, our accounts man?! Weetabix, butter and marmite. pic.twitter.com/7KvGJXvMfK
— Cross Rhythms City (@CRCityRadio) January 27, 2017
It’s all about bananas, according to Weetabix lovers on social. Meanwhile, apples and grapes are pretty popular too.
Good morning..My breakfast: Weetabix with acacia honey & banana! #goodmorning #breakfast #buongiorno #weetabix #honey #health #instamood #bestoftheday #bestpicture #photooftheday #foodporn #food #fitness #instagood #instalike #instadaily #like4like #varese #milano #igdaily #followme #healthylife #lifestyle #love #wellness #iphonesia #android #colazione #instafood
Fruit / veg is the most popular Weetabix category for female authors.
Berries are one of the most popular topping categories, and strawberries are definitely winning the berry-related Weetabix war.
Since nut and seed mention volumes are fairly low, it’d be wrong to suggest that chia seeds are one of the most popular toppings.
However, there were still a solid 32 instances of people talking about using them with their Weetabix.
Of course, the seeds and nuts are usually accompanied by other toppings.
Cereal and fruit saving breakfast on a Monday 👍🏻 Higgledy piggledy bowl of goods to start the day 😂😍 @fuel10k weetabix, @mornflake oats, @rudehealth granola, banana, raspberries, @grapetreefoods coconut chips and chia seeds and a little sprinkle of pumpkin seeds… and BOOM breakfast bowl fit for a cereal loving queen 👸🏻
Yoghurt vs milk
Given how popular yoghurt was in Weetabix’s serving suggestions we thought we’d see how many people were getting on board with it.
It turns out milk is still king when it comes to Weetabix accompaniments, but yoghurt holds its own with 180 mentions.
Hot n Cold
The temperature of the milk is also hot topic, and many Weetabix fans find it totally inconceivable that people would eat their cereal with milk the opposite temperature to how they like it.
We searched for mentions of “warm milk,” “hot milk”, “warmed up milk” and other variants and categorized them against mentions of milk that didn’t have a specific temperature attached. It looks like cold milk is more popular than warm for the moment.
How should you eat Weetabix?
Based on our investigations, it appears the best way to eat your Weetabix is with cold milk and bananas. Just like Zayn Malik did one time three years ago.
Think I'm gonna have some weetabix with a banana now :)
— zayn (@zaynmalik) June 2, 2013
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