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Getting Real About a Healthy Breakfast


Remember when Mom told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? She knew what she was talking about.

In addition to providing energy for the day, eating a good breakfast is a way to jump-start one’s daily nutrient intake. These days, health is increasingly on the minds of people as they figure out what they’re going to eat for the day; according to the 2015 Global Health and Wellness Survey from Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen Co., 88 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for healthy foods.

When it comes to such foods, the definition is changing, too. Nielsen’s survey shows that all demographics are interested in foods that are non-GMO, have no artificial colors or flavors, and are deemed all natural; 36 percent of consumers are interested in functional foods that are high in fiber; and 32 percent are seeking foods high in protein.

Dave Jones, SVP of sales for Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co., is monitoring that changing mindset regarding health and nutrition. “Consumers are more interested in what a food has, rather than what it does not have, such as protein and whole grain,” he observes. “They also are looking for products that contain ingredients they can easily recognize and they feel good about eating.”

Rising demand for better-for-you foods — and the evolving definition of “better” — is evident in the breakfast sector. According to research from The Hartman Group, in Bellevue, Wash., 55 percent of consumers focus on eating healthy foods and beverages for breakfast.

Many breakfast food companies have responded with new products and promotions geared toward better-for-you breakfast choices. Kellogg, for example, has launched Kellogg’s Origins, a line of cereals, granolas and muesli prepared with no artificial flavors, sweeteners or hydrogenated oils. In addition, the company’s Special K lineup now includes Low Fat Granola with cranberries, Breakfast Medley whole wheat breakfast sandwiches, and Chewy Nut Bars in Cranberry Almond and Dark Chocolate varieties.

Some brands are reformulating products to meet new better-for-you expectations and interests. In June, Minneapolis-based General Mills made headlines when it revealed plans to drop artificial flavors and colors from its cereals, beginning withTrix and Reese’s Puffs varieties.

Even the most basic breakfast foods are being looked at with a new kind of health halo. “We believe consumers’ insatiable appetite for protein, especially at breakfast, is a key driver for this renewed interest in eggs,” asserts Kevin Burkum, SVP for the American Egg Board, in Park Ridge, Ill. “Typically, most of the protein we consume is eaten at dinner, but that’s beginning to shift, and people are looking for high-quality protein options throughout the day, and that includes eggs for breakfast. We expect this protein megatrend to continue for the next five to 10 years.”

Within the protein-rich egg category, there’s also burgeoning interest in organic and cage-free varieties. “I think it’s a permanent change, based on what we saw in Europe in the 1990s, with consumer demand driving the market,” observes Jenni Danby, marketing director for San Francisco-based free-range egg supplier Happy Egg Co., “and it’s only going to get bigger as more people become aware of and want to know where their food is coming from and about how animals are treated.”

Beverages typically consumed at breakfast are getting a nutritional boost, too. Campbell Soup Co., based in Camden, N.J., recently introduced V8 Vegetable and Fruit Juice beverages in Healthy Greens, Purple Power, Golden Goodness and Carrot Mango flavors. Meanwhile, Chicago-based Tropicana’s Farmstand line has added Tropical Green, a blend of vegetable and fruit juice, to its portfolio. Also, in an indication of the growing strength of cold-pressed super-premium juices, Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Seattle-based Starbucks, came out with a new line of cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices in 11-ounce bottles.

“Consumers are more interested in what a food has, rather than what it does not have, such as protein and whole grain.”
—Dave Jones, The Kellogg Co.

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