Breakfast Foods Booming Among U.S. Consumers

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Breakfast Foods Booming Among U.S. Consumers


The breakfast foods category has experienced solid growth during the recession, with a 20 percent sales increase in recent years -- from $10 billion in 2007 to $12 billion in 2011 – according to the latest research from Mintel on the U.S. breakfast food market.  The breakfast category is forecast for continued growth by nearly 26 percent from 2012-17 to reach a predicted $15.7 billion.

“Eating at home to save money and the convenience of many products in the breakfast category likely aided in its impressive sales growth,” said Carla Dobre-Chastain, food analyst at Mintel. “While price will continue to play an important role when it comes to breakfast foods, Mintel’s research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for higher-quality breakfast products. Therefore, manufacturers and retailers need to strike a balance between price and quality in order to stay at the top of the market.”

The majority of consumers (69 percent) who eat breakfast foods regularly during the week consider “low cholesterol” and “heart-healthy” claims important.  Additionally, 65 percent of consumers think “low-fat” and “high-fiber” are significant health-related attributes when selecting their morning meal.

Fifty-seven percent of Mintel’s survey respondents who eat breakfast foods during the week would be willing to spend more on better quality prepackaged breakfast foods, according to the research. Further, 41 percent would like to see more organic prepackaged breakfast products.

Despite 45 percent of respondents enjoying pancakes for breakfast, 40 percent frozen waffles and 33 percent packaged sausages, it is within this traditional breakfast food category where consumer demand for healthy claims is higher. Fifty-two percent of respondents to Mintel’s consumer research would like to see more healthy variants of waffles on the shelves, 48 percent more healthy variants of pancake mix and 37 percent healthier sausages.

While the majority of respondents (87 percent) eat breakfast at home during a typical week, significantly more (30 percent) eat breakfast at a restaurant during the weekend, compared to 11 percent at home. Additionally, 53 percent of respondents believe that breakfast foods served at restaurants taste better compared to what is available in a grocery store.  And close to half (48 percent) of consumers indicate they would like to see more restaurant-style options in their grocery stores.

“While a frugal mindset is keeping many people from regularly eating out, aggressive breakfast offerings at restaurants have been attracting many customers,” added Dobre-Chastain.  “Therefore, restaurants continue to remain a threat to breakfast food manufacturers and retailers.”