May 31 2012
By Jason Stemm @NYCubsFan
Breakfast is back! Our mothers always told us it was the most important meal of the day, and it looks like we are finally starting to catch on. Whether it is for weight management, health, energy or alertness, more Americans are eating breakfast. Still, however, less than half of Americans are eating breakfast every day. It is by far the most frequently skipped meal, often due to lack of time or energy to prepare anything. This need for convenience has driven many of the trends. For instance, an NPD study found that 43% of morning meals consist only of a beverage. This goes beyond coffee, and relates to several areas where growth has occurred.
Health Kick: A large driver at breakfast has been increased awareness of the risks of skipping meals, particularly for weight management. It is not surprising to see people return to nature’s original on-the-go food, fruit. Grabbing an apple or banana on your way out the door is an easy, way to start the day, without having to give up any sleep time. And finding just a few minutes in the morning to make a smoothie provides the chance to round out your fruit-filled breakfast with dairy and protein all in one glass. Even McDonald’s is realizing this trend moving from pancake breakfast sandwiches and introducing oatmeal and fruit.
Breakfast on the Go: According to a study from Mintel, more than half of all breakfasts consumed away from home are from fast food restaurants. It is no wonder Subway entered this space, and likely that we will see other major players extend hours into the early day part. Food processors and drink makers are also jumping in the convenience game. From power bars and waffle breakfast sandwiches to smoothies and fortified energy drinks, the new items entering this space are staggering.
Second Breakfast: It’s not just for hobbits. More people are splitting the morning meal. It may start with coffee and a bowl of cereal at home, followed up by a yogurt or muffin mid-morning to carry us until lunch. It can be a good solution for the time starved to keep their body fueled throughout the morning.
Global Inspiration: Our appetite for ethnic flavors has extended into breakfast. Despite the notion that breakfast is the one meal where people are willing to eat the same thing every day, a more adventurous spirit is driving much of this growth. A menu survey we conducted with Datassentials showed that over half of the top 10 dishes seeing growth on restaurant menus have worldly roots, including tacos, crepes and frittatas. Perhaps it is the universal use of eggs in many cultures that helps provide a familiar and popular base for many ethnic dishes, or just an extension of our cultural discover through food, but even Taco Bell is seizing the breakfast craze.
Morning KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid! Weekday breakfast often don’t allow for much prep time, so finding easy ways to get a healthy start is key, and there is no shortage of groups willing to lend a hand. The International Food Information Council has some great tips. We have embarked on a breakfast initiative with our client, avocados from Mexico, providing solutions as simple as avocado spread over whole wheat toast or a two-ingredient avocado pineapple smoothie. America’s Milk Processors have launched The Breakfast Project and the American Egg Board is leveraging another trend, breakfast all day.
For many years I was a serial breakfast skipper. Despite my mother’s advice, I could go until 1 or 2 PM without eating. It never seemed to bother me, but also never seemed to be a good idea. It just wasn’t important enough for me to make the effort. It was really the birth of my daughter that turned me back onto breakfast. I wouldn’t dream of not making sure she had a complete meal each morning and started to realize that this may be a good idea for me as well. With her early wake-up call, time is usually not an issue, though my energy level in the AM does make me want to keep things easy and cleanup minimal. I often have a stash of bananas and granola bars at my desk to enjoy a mid-morning boost, and keep a variety of items on hand at home for quick assembly such as yogurt, fruit and bread.
What did you have for breakfast today, or more importantly, what will you plan to have tomorrow?
Photo Sources: Avocados From Mexico