We all know that breakfast options have been getting more and more convenient, especially for on-the-go consumption, but do you think your customers would go for the world’s first liquid fry-up?
As the name suggests, it’s a full English breakfast in a carton. Boffins at protein shake company Fuel Your 10k Hours chomped their way through 100 packs of bacon, 46 tins of baked beans, 459 fried eggs and 88 packets of sausages before coming up with the “perfect recipe”. Apparently, when drinking it you get the smokiness from the bacon, the sweetness from the tomatoes and the nuttiness from the toast. Presumably without the queasiness of the thought of drinking such a mixture.
Breakfast: the facts
The population of over-55s will rise 1.7 million by 2018, which is great news for porridge as these are its core consumers
Ready to eat (RTE) cereals represent 85% of value sales. However, tough competition comes in the form of breakfast biscuits, cereal bars and pastries
Mintel expects the cereals market to grow by 18% value by 2019
The hot cereals sector has almost doubled since 2008
Consumers’ busy lifestyles are having a major impact on when and where breakfast is eaten, with 16% of adults eating breakfast out of home at least twice a week and 32% once a month
High fibre is the most important consideration of the health-related factors of breakfast cereal buyers, with low sugar second
Satiety and energy provision are the two most important considerations for consumers buying cereals for their families
Among the over-45s and households with children, natural ingredients are very important
Own label share of RTE cereal stands at 21%, but failed to keep up with the flourishing hot cereals segment
76% of NPD comes from RTE cereals.
Binny Amin, who has a Londis in Blean, near Canterbury, and a Budgens in Whitstable, Kent, is not convinced. “I’d try it myself, but I can’t see people giving up a proper fried breakfast for this,” he says. And those proper fried breakfasts are a real profit earner for him.
“Fry-ups are absolutely awesome for us. In Whitstable, we supply all the local restaurants with products for their breakfasts. We have accounts with all of them. But it’s not just that, there are the weekend fry-ups, too, where customers trade up to more premium lines and add-ons such as hash browns and white or black pudding.”
Phil Hickson, who has three Spars in and around Lincoln, says fry-ups are big business for him at weekends. “We are butchers so we make our own Lincolnshire sausages, and we’re well known for them,” he says.
For those consumers who love a fried breakfast, but don’t have the time or inclination to make their own, there is the convenience version in the form of the good old bacon or sausage bap.
Phil offers hot food at two of his stores. “We find we get a lot of workmen in from 6am onwards and sell lots of hot bacon and sausage baps and baguettes. There are definitely more people having breakfast on the go, too, so we have a coffee and bacon bap deal for £1.99.”
In its 2013 Breakfast Catering report, Mintel specifically singles out convenience stores as a threat to foodservice operators who are offering breakfast.
The research company says loyalty is low in the breakfast market, illustrated by the fact that six in 10 consumers surveyed stated that a convenient location helps them choose one venue over another. It goes on: “Low price is another key enticement for breakfast purchasers, highlighting the threat posed by convenience stores. Young consumers are the most price-sensitive, with under-35s the most likely to choose a breakfast venue based on low price or meal deals.”
Mintel says the top three venues for buying out-of-home breakfasts are grocery stores, cafés/bakeries and fast food outlets. Surprisingly, coffee shops lag behind these in fourth place.
Interestingly, Mintel found that breakfast purchasers prioritise fast service over friendly service, but having said that nearly a quarter of users will choose one venue over another because of the friendly service they have received in the past.
Paul Stone, with three Spar stores in Manchester, has a very strong hot food offer at two of his outlets. “We do breakfast meal deals - coffee and a bacon or sausage sandwich. This did sell for £2, but recently increased to £2.50. However, it continues to sell as it’s still a deal as coffee has gone up from £1.20 to £1.50 a cup.”
For Paul, breakfast starts and ends with coffee. “My number one stress is whether the coffee machine is working or not as there is no substitute for coffee. In our City Tower store we have two coffee machines.”
Paul’s St Mary’s Gate Spar at just 700sq ft is too small for a full-on hot food offer, but its breakfast customers don’t miss out as the store offers pain au chocolat and great deals on croissants at ‘two for £1’.
All about the timing
On a weekday, Binny’s breakfast trade comes in batches at his Londis store. “First of all there are the tradesmen who come in on their way to work for hot pies and pasties, sausage and bacon baps. After the school run, mums come into the store on their way back home looking for breakfast options for the next morning. We do linked deals on bread and milk, on eggs and bacon, but these mean customers have to walk the whole shop. These deals work pretty well.”
Binny says there are other factors that affect his breakfast trade, too. “When family members come to visit a new baby, for example, that has a positive effect on our breakfast sales.”
Bio yogurt for breakfast
Müller Corner is the only range in Müller Wiseman’s portfolio with a dedicated breakfast option - Breakfast Corner. Marketing and R&D director Michael Inpong says: “Many consumers like to enjoy their breakfast yogurt with fruit or granola, and with fruit granola on the side, complemented by a generous helping of creamy bio yogurt, Breakfast Corner ticks all the boxes.” It comes in tropical fruit and strawberry flavours.
Belvita Breakfast to sponsor shows
Belvita Breakfast is sponsoring all nine Capital Breakfast shows for six months, enabling it to reach Capital’s audience of 7.7 million listeners each week. The deal will promote Belvita Breakfast as a tasty and convenient option for rushed mornings. The partnership features on-air and online activity.
Crumpets driving morning growth
Warburtons says its performance in the breakfast sector has been driven by its crumpets, making them a key bakery product.
Nutella spreads the word
According to Kantar Worldpanel, 65% of Nutella consumption is at breakfast. New breakfast serving suggestions are being highlighted in a £4.5m TV campaign, featuring toast, porridge and pancakes, with the strapline ‘Wake up to Nutella’.
Porridge and porridge pots are big sellers at Binny’s Budgens. “It’s important that we offer the different pack sizes and own brand as well. SuperValu is popular because it’s a good price and good quality. With porridge, we also benefit from add-on sales of fruit and honey to go with it,” he says.
And Paul Stone reports that Rumblers pots are particularly successful in his stores. Rumblers are two-pot packs - one containing crunchy wholegrain oat clusters the other low-fat probiotic yogurt. There are three varieties: scrummy strawberries raucous raspberries and chunky chocs & curls. “Their popularity just reflects our changing lifestyles,” says Paul. “We get a lot of young professionals coming in who are running late, or students in a rush and who just want to grab and go.”
Nick Dawson, UK customer director for speciality channels at Kellogg’s, agrees: “Ten years ago you couldn’t imagine leaving the house without eating first, but more and more people are eating their breakfasts on the move because it suits their busy lifestyles.
“We know 23% of all breakfasts are eaten outside the home and 13% of these are from convenience stores, so breakfast presents a huge opportunity for the channel (Allegra/Kellogg Research 2013).”
He advises that breakfast-to-go items should be located in clearly visible places to help those shoppers in a rush.
One area that hasn’t changed in the popularity is cereal, illustrated by Kantar Worldpanel data which reveals that 96% of shoppers have purchased cereal in the past year. According to Mintel’s latest breakfast cereals report, 88% of adults consume ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, with half of them eating them at least daily, or on most days.
And despite the raft of new launches and added varieties, traditional cereals such as cornflakes and Rice Krispies are the most popular type of cereal, eaten by more than half (57%) of consumers, but over-indexing with men.
Although they are called ‘breakfast’ cereals, 15% of consumers eat them between meals as a snack, and 10% eat them as a ‘sweet treat’. Consumption on these occasions peaks among the under-25s and students.
However, the cereal industry isn’t without threat. Last January the Labour Party initiated discussions on salt and sugar in processed food targeted at children, specifically highlighting breakfast cereals.
Paul Stone says that cereals are a strong seller for him, with Kellogg’s top. That’s not surprising when you learn that there are seven Kellogg’s products listed in the top 10 selling cereals in the convenience channel: Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes Coco Pops Special K Rice Krispies Variety Packs and Bran Flakes.
Breakfast biscuits: Alternatives gain in strength
Just three years ago they were unheard of, but breakfast biscuits is the fastest growing segment of the healthier biscuit category and, according to IRI data, is currently worth £119m.
Mondelez started the ball rolling with its Belvita Breakfast, which is now worth £57.5m (Nielsen) and has the highest repeat purchase of any breakfast biscuit.
Rahul Gursahani, senior brand manager for Belvita Breakfast, says: “The brand has experienced extremely strong value growth of 38%, further supported by our increase in penetration to 25% - up 6.7% versus the previous year (Kantar).”
Last year (2013), Belvita Breakfast was made available in an exclusive format for the convenience channel - a 150g pack aimed at top-up shoppers.
Nick Dawson, UK customer director, speciality channels at Kellogg’s, which makes Nutri-Grain bars, says that while they are not for everyone, breakfast biscuits are often an incremental purchase and ideal to place next to a till, or even a coffee machine. “All these examples are proven to work well and can drive additional sales,” he says.
“Cereal buyers are also regular visitors to convenience stores and spend about £5 more than the average shopper (HIM) so it’s a huge sales opportunity for the channel,” explains Dawson.
He advises that, as 37% of milk is consumed with cereal, it’s worth putting signage at the milk fixture to drive shoppers to the cereal category. “Running promotions with milk is an effective way of driving sales and encouraging consumers to make a purchase in store which they may have planned for their main shop at the supermarket.”
Not just for bears
As well as cereals, porridge continues to be a popular breakfast option, so much so that Pepsico has increased production of Quaker products by 25% to keep up with growing consumer demand.
According to Nielsen stats, Quaker has driven 66% of total hot cereal growth in the convenience sector in the past three years, but it is currently stocked by only one in five independent retailers. Matt Goddard, head of impulse field sales at Quaker, says these retailers are missing out on this hot sales opportunity.
“With younger, smaller households shopping more frequently throughout the week, retailers can unlock the profitable top-up shop opportunity by stocking relevant formats to drive mid-week basket spend. Quaker Oat So Simple 500g bag has had a fantastic response from retailers and is driving penetration in smaller, younger households.”
Goddard says new flavours and formats have helped overcome many of the barriers to porridge consumption. He points to Quaker Heaps of Fruit, which has been an “incredibly successful launch into the category for Quaker”, appealing to younger consumers in particular. “This latest innovation is the first Quaker launch in both sachet and pot format and is set to drive incremental sales for retailers.”
The brand will continue to drive innovation this year with the launch of Oat So Simple Multi-grain. This contains two new grains in addition to the traditional whole-grain Quaker oats, and delivers all the benefits of multi-grain.
Earlier this year, Kellogg’s launched its first porridge under the Special K brand. Special K Multi-Grain porridge is made from oats, barley and rye, making it naturally high in fibre. It is also fortified with seven vitamins and iron and is available in sachets and pots, in three flavours.
“Research shows us that one in three people are still not buying a porridge product so there’s lots of room to exploit this category further,” says Dawson. “The individual sachets (available in pricemarked packs this month) also contain 30% less fat than other porridges so we know that with these two formats we are bringing a point of difference to the channel that people will love all year round, not just in the cold winter months.”
On the go
Weetabix is targeting the one in five consumers who skip breakfast with Weetabix On The Go Drink, which aims to deliver the energy, fibre and protein of Weetabix cereal in milk. The drink is available in a 250ml single-serve, resealable bottle in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavours.
Protein breakfast with benefits
USN Whey & Oats is a high-protein breakfast designed to keep consumers full until lunchtime. As well as the protein, there’s niacin to help reduce tiredness and fatigue, and pantothenic acid to aid mental performance.
Country Choice extends its range
Country Choice’s expanded sandwich fillings range includes All-Day Breakfast, made with free-range chopped eggs and Cumberland sausage slices mixed with smoke-flavoured bacon pieces and sliced mushrooms - all coated in a tomato mayonnaise dressing.
Running for Warburtons
Olympic triathlete champions Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee are the new ambassadors for Half & Half, Warburtons’ range of bread that blends 50% white flour and 50% wholegrain flour. It includes a Half & Half version of its popular Toastie.
Baking solutions for busy retailers
Both Country Choice and Cuisine de France offer pre-filled muffins and baps. Both are delivered frozen in oven-proof wrap, to be defrosted overnight, baked in the oven first thing the next day, then labelled and displayed in a suitable heated cabinet for up to two hours.