Breakfast means breaking a fast and whether consumed at 6 a.m. or 11 a.m., it’s always been an important meal in the U.S. Last year Americans consumed nearly 102 billion breakfasts, with another 50 billion morning snack occasions rounding out the average morning, reports The NPD Group. And, the future of breakfast looks rosy too with forecast growth of breakfast foods that meet consumers’ primary needs of function, convenience, and enjoyment, according to NPD’s recently released Future of Morning study, which illustrates how morning foods are changing today and into the future.
“While breakfast as an institution is deeply rooted, the what, how, and why surrounding our food and beverage choices, and where we get them, is changing,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and co-author of Future of Morning report. “Busy schedules mixed with good intentions and the need for fuel, shape what we eat and drink in the morning.”
The NPD study finds that consumers today are becoming less concerned with the food itself and more interested in solutions that can bridge meals. They’re looking for functional, convenient, and enjoyable foods, and each of these needs plays out differently by generation. In many cases, easy access to food drives the decision making process of what to eat. This behavior is evidenced with the rise of mobile ordering and increased use of quick service restaurants for a fast grab-and-go breakfast or morning snack.
“Consumers are looking for foods and beverages to meet their needs – not for a food that fits a specific meal or snack daypart,” says Portalatin. “Food manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice operators all have an opportunity to make breakfast and morning snack food acquisition seamless by focusing on the consumer needs and offering daily solutions, including niche nutritional needs.”