It’s long been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it turns out this adage couldn’t be more right. New research has suggested that people who skip breakfast are nearly 5% more likely to overeat at lunch, and the foods they choose are more likely to be unhealthy. It won’t be long until health-conscious consumers take these findings to heart, and we begin to see new breakfasting habits emerge.
Of course, no trend evolves in a vacuum. There are other consumer habits, in addition to a renewed propensity for healthier eating, that are also affecting what people buy and eat for breakfast. Consumers are busier than ever, and an increasing number of Americans are opting to skip out on full meals altogether and snackify their days, eating smaller, snack-sized meals more frequently throughout the day.
Combined, these trends are poised to dominate the breakfast food category. Brands have an opportunity to expand their reach by offering healthy, grab-and-go options to please Americans’ palates and fit their busy schedules.
Grab and Go from Home
Of all meals, breakfast is the one most likely to be prepared at home—even if that preparation is minimal. Only about 15% of consumers eat during their car or train commute and 10% eat at their desks at work. And, even when time is tight, 68% of consumers who eat on the go choose to grab something from home. But, the options ready to grab on the way out the door are not always the best. A piece of fruit is fast, but likely to leave a person hungry long before lunch. A sandwich is more filling, but also time-consuming when someone has only a few seconds to spare in the kitchen.
The trend toward snackification makes ready-to-go breakfast kits and other easy options more appealing. Capitalize on the trend by creating grab-and-go boxes that let consumers build and customize their own breakfast sandwiches or bowls.
Speed and Convenience
While breakfasts out are not a common choice on weekdays, they are an area that is growing. Restaurants saw breakfast/morning meal visits grow by 5% between June 2014 and June 2015. Breakfast sandwich sales increased by 3.6 million servings. This makes sense, as a breakfast sandwich is one of the quickest ways for people to get a meal in a format that is easy to eat on the go.
McDonald's is looking to cash in on the trend by offering a selection of their breakfast sandwiches all day long. While the company has not released specific figures, a recent letter to franchisees hailed the measure as a success. Experts predict that the move could increase same store sales by 1 percent in the final quarter of the year and that all-day breakfast will have a 1.5 percent impact.
With traffic and early start times hanging overhead, many people don't even want to spend the time it takes to have a breakfast sandwich prepared, so some quick-serve restaurants have begun creating grab-and-go boxes that can be picked up quickly and easily. Customers are in and back out, on to the rest of their day, with virtually no wait time at all. These boxed meals have great advantages for restaurants, as well. Because they are prepared in advance, they can ease pressure during the business's heaviest rush times. The ideal box ingredients are ones that hold well and that can be considered an indulgence by the consumer. Think artisan breads, high quality meats, cheese, and greens.
Food industry trends change over time. Snackification, a move away from cooking meals at home and changing nutritional concerns will all govern the choices that consumers make. Keep up with these trends by offering your customers the easy, grab-and-go options that they want.