It’s commonly said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do consumers really think that? Spoiler alert: yes, they do, especially when it comes to health. According to our new 2019 Breakfast Keynote Report, around eight in 10 consumers say breakfast is an important part of their day, and three-quarters of consumers prioritize healthiness at breakfast. Regardless of whether your operation actually serves breakfast, though, the daypart can still be an important source of trends, and with the rise of all-day breakfast, consumers are now able to get their a.m. favorites in the evening, too.
Across segments, you’ll find that breakfast dishes such as fried eggs and bacon are appearing on pizza and in salad, stir-fry and even soup -- all foods most consumers find appealing. We last took a deep dive into breakfast trends in 2016, and now, three years later, we’re revisiting the daypart to see what’s changed, with highlights from our 2019 Breakfast Keynote Report, which includes data and insights from over 300 operators and 1,000 consumers.
In the a.m., convenience is key
Convenience is paramount for breakfast. When it comes to morning meals eaten at home, “quick and easy to prepare” is the most important attribute for consumers, whereas a convenient location is most desired when deciding where to grab breakfast away from home. Among consumers who sometimes skip breakfast, more than one-third cite a lack of time as the primary motivation. Overall, most consumers want a simple morning meal that fits into their schedules, and according to the report, valuing convenience even over other characteristics such as nutrition or indulgence.
LSRs dominate breakfast
According to our report, 41% of US restaurants currently serve breakfast or are open during breakfast hours. Limited service restaurants (LSRs) are the primary purveyors, with over half of all fast casual and quick service restaurants (QSRs) offering breakfast. The morning daypart has been a prime source of incremental revenue over the last few years, particularly for LSR chains, many of which have notably created or expanded their a.m. offerings. Operators of convenience stores and QSRs in particular have witnessed the largest gains in breakfast sales, with 64% of C-stores and 46% of QSRs seeing an increase in revenue from breakfast within the past year.
Foodservice locations that don’t currently serve breakfast may want to consider doing so, as expanding into this daypart can attract more consumers and revenue. Across the landscape we see major players such as Wendy’s re-entering the breakfast arena and many others revamping and expanding their offerings through digital initiatives, on-trend meat alternatives, loyalty programs, and more.
And breakfast’s rising star is…
The biggest trend to hit breakfast in years is avocado toast, which may include additional fixings such as egg and tomato. Avocado toast has experienced a remarkable four-digit increase in menu penetration over the last four years, according to the report, with younger consumers in particular gravitating to it. Some other dishes seeing growth on breakfast menus include North African shakshuka, Mexican chilaquiles and regional concepts like deviled eggs and chicken and waffles. And p.m.-inspired dishes such as breakfast tacos, burgers and pizzas are also becoming more prevalent on menus, with the breakfast taco in particular experiencing a triple-digit increase in menu penetration over the last four years.
For an example of an operator who’s bringing breakfast to the bar even, look to Los Angeles-based Nighthawk Breakfast Bar, which serves Spiked Cereal Milk cocktails in flavors like Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch with bourbon or Cinnamon Toast Crunch with spiced rum, demonstrating the broad reach of breakfast ingredients across dayparts and mealparts. For more eggcellent insights into the breakfast landscape, ask about Datassential’s fresh off the griddle 2019 Breakfast Keynote Report.
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Gerald Oksanen is a senior analyst at Datassential, a supplier of trends, analysis, and concept testing for the food industry. To purchase the 2019 Breakfast Keynote Report mentioned in this article, contact Datassential managing director Brian Darr at email@example.com.
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