Formulation Trends Showing Breakfast Foods Aren’t Just for Morning Anymore

The breakfast category is growing with tasty, better-for-you entries that blend nutrition and convenience. And they're not just for breakfast.

By Lauren Hartman, Product Development Editor

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breakfast platePeople love breakfast foods, and not just in the morning. Research from the National Restaurant Association shows 72 percent of adults want restaurants to offer breakfast items throughout the day, and 54 percent of consumers enjoy eating breakfast at nontraditional times, according to a 2015 Technomic report.

The Hartman Group (, Bellevue, Wash., lists the top three morning foods as eggs and egg dishes (at 29 percent), followed by cold cereal, bacon/sausage/ham and waffles/pancakes/French toast (26 percent) and breads and bread-like products like bagels and croissants (22 percent).

The top three beverages are coffee/espresso (36 percent), milk and other dairy beverages (20 percent) and fruit juice and nectar (17 percent).

We're written often about snacking replacing meals. It's happening at breakfast, too. Welch’s Global Ingredients Group ( says 92 percent of American millennials it surveyed snack instead of having breakfast, lunch or dinner, at least once a week. "More than a quarter (26 percent) replace a meal at least seven times a week," notes Wayne Lutomski, vice president, international, at WGI. "The [findings] demonstrate there is a big opportunity to develop snack products suitable for the breakfast occasion."

WGI sees more breakfast foods focusing on nutrition, especially in the cereal aisle. "Manufacturers who use the right ingredients – like real fruit ingredients with provenance, for example -- stand to gain an edge in this competitive market. This trend will only accelerate, as manufacturers try to reintroduce the millennial consumer to the most fundamental of all meals, breakfast," Lutomski says.

WGI's FruitWorx fruit inclusions for snacks, bakery products and breakfast items are made from dark purple Concord grapes, which have a sweet, bold flavor and natural polyphenols, he explains. While Concord grapes have been used for years mostly for juice, FruitWorx pieces serve various new breakfast food applications, such as snack bars, cookies, biscuits, baked goods and more.

Grab-n-go world

One reason why breakfast foods are favored at various times is because of their portability. Hurried lifestyles are prompting more people to eat breakfast on-the-run. Euromonitor finds that nearly 60 percent of U.S. consumers claim to eat breakfast during their morning commute. In addition, the Hartman Group ( says breakfast is mostly eaten alone (about 53 percent of Americans).

Future Market Insights (FMI, pegged the global on-the-go breakfast products market at $1.198 billion in 2015, and projects it to be valued at $1.853 billion by 2026. Sales are expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 4.2 percent during the same period.

Ready-to-eat cereals will continue to dominate the global on-the-go breakfast segment, FMI found, accounting for 70 percent of all breakfast food sales at the end of 2016. Mintel Group (, however, predicts cereal sales will decline through 2020. "Consumers are avoiding indulgent cereals in favor of healthier options [or] turning to more natural cereals with fiber and protein. Manufacturers should consider focusing on cereals people are eating more of: less-processed; better-for-you cereals such as granola, high-fiber cereal and oats (quick-cooking or regular), as these products tend to provide more sustenance and are less processed and sugar-laden."

Blue Diamond YogurtThe current health and wellness trends point to a demand for healthier, portable breakfast options with high protein and fiber, that provide satiety and the ability to be personalized, says Jeff Smith, director of marketing at Blue Diamond Almond's Global Ingredients Div. (, Sacramento, Calif. "Foods in the form of bars are portable and easy to prepare. We work with many manufacturers to formulate breakfast bars with protein-packed almonds, which provide the important satiety factor consumers want. When it comes to breakfast nutrition bars, many [customers] want to replace an actual meal with the bar. Almonds add texture and crunch, are high in protein, copper, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin E and an excellent source of calcium."

Even spices and seasonings leader McCormick & Co. (, Sparks, Md., is adding a breakfast line this year. The Good Morning line will feature 18 clean-label products, including slow-cooker breakfasts, smoothie boost flavor and nutrition packets, breakfast topper ingredient add-ins and breakfast seasonings, such as apple cinnamon. They're meant to "boost the flavor and nutrition of breakfast staples and solve the consumer pain points of variety, healthy, convenience," the company says.

Consumers are looking for products that can enhance their oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, weekend pancakes and even smoothies, said Brendan Foley, president of McCormick's global consumer business and North America. All of the McCormick Good Morning items are "clean label and most will be gluten-free," he says.

LaColombe DraftLatteCold-brewed coffee is taking the hot coffee breakfast mainstay to other times of day. Cold brews are proliferating in refrigerated cases across the country. La Colombe Coffee Roasters (, Philadelphia, which operates cafes in select locations throughout the U.S., recently unveiled a 10-oz. retail can for its distinctive Draft Latte cold brew. The can is ringed with a custom designed plastic lip guard top "to give an elevated experience similar to a to-go cup," according to the company, with a froth-making valve device on the bottom, similar to those on some cans of beer. Merchandised in dairy cases, the rich Draft Latte, made mostly of milk and cold-pressed espresso, comes in four flavors.

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