Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but between rushing the kids off to school and preparing for your own morning commute, who really has the time for pancakes and bacon? While the traditional morning sit down may indeed be a thing of the past, Americans are increasingly making time for at least a quick bite—namely, healthy convenience foods from their local grocery store.
Breakfast foods saw a 20 percent increase in dollar sales between 2007 and 2011 from $10 billion to $12 billion, Mintel reports. As we continue to creep out of the recession, the market research firm predicts continued growth by as much as 26 percent to $15.7 billion by 2017.
“Eating at home to save money and the convenience of many products in the breakfast category likely aided in its impressive sales growth," the report states. "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."
Let me say that again, "willing to pay more for higher-quality breakfast products." Adios Lucky Charms, sayonara Smurf Berries, consumers want breakfast foods that actually deliver some nutritional value. The majority (69 percent) of respondents who said they eat breakfast during the week consider "Low Cholesterol" or "Heart Healthy" claims important when selecting a product. Additionally, around the same number look for "low-fat" and "high fiber" when selecting breakfast products.
However, it's not all good news. Given a choice, most respondents said that breakfast foods served at restaurants taste far better than foods available at their grocery store. Forty-eight percent said they'd like to see more restaurant-style options in retail. Frankly, I agree.
I've visited many retailers that deliver standout hot bar offerings during lunch and dinner, but at breakfast it’s the same old, same old—burritos, eggs, bacon, yogurt parfait, yawn. Mintel's research shows us there's truly an opportunity to capture sales by getting innovative at breakfast. In the aisle, this can be done by calling out particularly standout products, for example, "tastes just like homemade steel cut oats but in half the time."
If you offer prepared foods, try partnering with a local chef if you need recipe inspiration. The true card in back pocket, however, is in delivering form and function with dishes that play up low-fat ingredients, fiber and, of course, flavor.