Product Developers Taking a Cue from Breakfast-Snacking Trends

Product developers are taking a cue from breakfast-snacking trends to create new food products.

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

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Demand for a quick, tasty breakfast that's made with better ingredients is rising. As a result, consumers are seeing more new items in supermarket aisles, such as baking, muffin and pancake products with organic, free-from, non-GMO, natural and Fair Trade-certified ingredients.

Breakfast is popular at other times of day, too. What used to be exclusively morning foods are one of the top choices of food Americans eat when dining out. The Hartman Group finds that all-day breakfast offerings comprised 68 percent of all of the foods people ate at full-service restaurants, 63 percent at cafes, 60 percent in fast-casual and 55 percent in fast-food outlets, within a three-month time-frame.

McDonald's realized serving its breakfast items all day would pay off, despite saying for years it was impossible to make this move, that its restaurants were too busy to handle breakfast orders on top of burgers and the rest of the menu. But all-day breakfast fare has proved to be a crowd pleaser for McDonald’s. "This is the consumers' idea. This is what they want us to do," McDonald’s president Michael Andres told the Wall Street Journal recently. "This could be the catalyst for our turnaround."

The traditional definitions of snacks and breakfast are also softening, as Packaged Facts notes consumers are changing their perceptions about breakfast, and the meal is evolving into an all-morning snack fest. 24 per cent of consumers snack in the morning instead of eating a full meal, the firm's new report indicates.

"As restaurant brands such as Denny’s have long known, and as McDonald’s success with all-day breakfast cements, foods traditionally associated with the breakfast daypart can also find success during other parts of the day and/or as a snack," says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

One of the largest independent processors of bacon and sausage in the country, SugarCreek Packing Co. (, Cincinnati, has noticed the impact of all-day breakfast on the industry. "Clearly breakfast foods are growing, given the leading trends in quick-service restaurant segment. But I don't know if the breakfast day part is growing or just breakfast options sold at different times of the day," questions Lance Layman, vice president of business development at SugarCreek.

"Breakfast food options offered now throughout the day [may have] health benefits not normally available in hand-held lunch and dinner options," he continues. "Based on market results, these are obviously benefits and options consumers desire. As breakfast foods grow, you'll see more focus on products that offer lower calorie options and deliver higher amounts of protein."

In and away from home

All-day breakfast items will definitely be more popular at the supermarket as well, Layman adds. "This is absolutely the case in retail segments, both behind the counter in foodservice offerings, as well as on the shelves. Foodservice trends almost always cascade down through the retail channel after first becoming mainstream within restaurants. As a baby boomer working to maintain a healthier lifestyle, I'm trying to eat smaller meals/snacks more frequently throughout the day, and this now includes breakfast. As a result, because I eat breakfast at home before work, I'm now eating a 250-calorie breakfast sandwich, ready in two minutes. Breakfast options both at home and away are offering me convenient and healthy options that meet my needs, at any time of the day."

Breakfast and morning snack consumption in and away from home is forecast to grow by 5 percent through 2019, reports NPD Group, Chicago. Annual morning snack occasions per person in and away from home have increased 17 percent in the past six years, according to NPD's continual tracking of U.S. eating behaviors. The market intelligence firm cites speed, affordability and portability as main reasons. Convenience is why sales of breakfast sandwiches, better-for-you yogurt and cereal bars are climbing.

Although a lot of people are eating breakfast away from home, most breakfast meals, 70 percent, are consumed at home. The average annual number of breakfast occasions per person in 2015 was 361, NPD says, which is up 11 occasions per person from 2010.

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