1. High prices see consumers choose value breakfast options

2. Breakfast Treat items have seen the smallest inflationary increase

3. 79% of British workers who skip breakfast admit this affects their mood or productivity

4. A return to the office is opening up out of home breakfast opportunities

5. 36% of breakfast eaters say health reasons prompted them to change their breakfast

6. Iced coffee is perking up breakfast sales

Older female shopper looking at cereal box

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1. High prices see consumers choose value breakfast options

As the cost of household staples has risen over the past year, few other areas of food and drink have been affected more than breakfast – with the price of ingredients soaring over the past year.

The latest Consumer Price Index figures show that the market may finally be about to settle with milk, cheese and eggs providing the biggest negative contribution to inflation.

Nevertheless, with prices having risen considerably since last year, shoppers will be seeking out value, claims Dole Sunshine Company. “As the current cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, it’s safe to assume that consumers are likely to continue to change their shopping behaviours,” says sales director Andrew Bradshaw. “They will be more conscious of product value for money incorporating quality, waste, convenience and choice, which is where ambient products increasingly have a role to play.

“Whilst fresh fruit can come at a premium price, shoppers understand that ambient goods not only offer good value and have longer shelf lives, but in the case of our Dole packaged fruit range, can also be one of your five-a-day and a healthy part of their overall diet.”

Craig Warren, from The Corner Stores Mildenhall in Suffolk says consumers are drawn to value lines. “Our breakfast sales are flat, but we’re seeing good growth from our price-marked and own-brand products,” he says. “We stock a core range of favourites, and our shoppers will always look for what’s cheapest.”

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2. Breakfast Treat items have seen the smallest inflationary increase

Bakery lines are still on the menu for many value hunters with Breakfast Treat items having seen the smallest inflationary increase (Circana), notes Lantmännen Unibake. This presents retailers across all formats with an opportunity to capture both the planned breakfast shopper but also the impulse shopper, states the bakery supplier. “For example, the croissant has always been king of the pastries when it comes to breakfast occasion,” says marketing manager Sam Winsor. “40% of Croissant sales in grocery and convenience are sold as singles, often as an impulsive purchase, compared to 60% which are sold as multi-pack, often as a planned purchase (part of a weekly shop) [Lantmännen]. Therefore, having a variety of fresh bakery products available is vital as they are being purchased by multiple shopper types.” 

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Man yawning at work

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3. 79% of British workers who skip breakfast admit this affects their mood or productivity

Many working Brits are starting their day lacking important nutrition, according to new research commissioned by meal replacement shakes producer Yfood, which revealed that 86% are skipping breakfast on average nine times a month. This is despite a whopping 79% saying that skipping breakfast results in a change in their mood or productivity, with 48% feeling more tired, more irritable (41%), struggling to concentrate (40%) and more restless (27%).

What’s more, over half (53%) agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, with 54% wishing there was a quicker and easier way to have healthy and balanced food in the morning. In fact, two fifths of the British workers who skip breakfast, claim it’s because they don’t have time to prepare it.

Country manager Paul Sloane says: “We all know that breakfast is an important mealtime and is our opportunity to feed our bodies with nutrients to set us up for the day ahead, but so many of us are not doing it.” He claims that there is a major opportunity for on-the-go products, with 57% saying they would consider a ready-to-drink meal in the morning, to consume on the go as a way of getting healthy and nutritious food in the morning.

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Young woman eating yoghurt in office

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4. A return to the office is opening up out of home breakfast opportunities

With 90% of companies stating they will have some level of office working back in place by 2024, and only 2% of business leaders saying they will never require office working (Resume Builder 2023), it appears the direction of travel will only mean more opportunities for breakfast on the go.

In fact, Lumina data from the three months to July 2023 shows an uptake in out of home consumption. “Consumers are increasingly eating breakfast out of the home,” says George Bates, head of category development at Danone. “In the out-of-home segment, penetration of the breakfast mission has grown by +1% and seen a strong change in average spend, which is up by +6% [Lumina].” 

He adds: “With many people now returning to office-based working, on-the-go is particularly strong, as evidenced by our range of Activia Granola single-serve breakfast pots delivering great growth in convenience at +58% value and +24% volume (IRI).” 

Dole Sunshine Company has also seen demand for portable breakfasts. “Consumers are now looking for breakfast items that are not only easy to prepare and healthy, but also convenient and can be consumed on the go,” says Bradshaw, noting that Dole fruit cups are up by 4.6% in the last 52 weeks versus a flat category (IRI). 

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Bowl of porridge topped with strawberries and blueberries

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5. 36% of breakfast eaters say health reasons prompted them to change their breakfast

Outside of the shift towards value and on-the-go breakfasts, there are few trends shaping the breakfast market more than health.

Dole’s Andrew Bradshaw says: “Fruit is the fourth most popular food to be eaten at breakfast, after cereal, bakery and porridge [Mintel]. That’s no surprise as many consumers now recognise the benefits of starting the day with something that is good for you and easy to digest. 

He notes that research published last year reported 36% of breakfast eaters saying health reasons have prompted them to change what they have for breakfast in the last 12 months. “This drive to be healthier is also apparent with the potential for breakfast foods to shout about calorie content, as 45% of eaters say they consider how many calories are in their breakfast as part of their daily intake [ibid].” Dole packs incorporate a Nutri-score rating of A-E to help consumers understand how healthy each product is.

Warburtons has also invested in healthier products with its wrapped bakery Crumpet Thins. The non-HFSS product comes in at 61 calories per crumpet, making them ideal for those looking for a lighter option, claims the firm. “Our existing Thins and Thin Bagel ranges have been booming since their launch, so we knew the demand was there,” adds chairman Jonathan Warburton. 

High protein yoghurts are another strong performer within healthier breakfast options, according to Danone. Bates says: “High-protein yoghurts have delivered value growth of more than a third (35%) and volume growth of 24% in the past year (IRI). 

“In addition, the impressive 6% year-on-year growth of natural yoghurt, which is seen as healthy and versatile, further shows how health benefits are increasingly informing consumer purchasing decisions.”

Health is also a key consderation for spread purchases, claims Saputo Dairy UK. “Consumers opting for dairy-free and plant-based alternatives are no longer a niche,” explains head of marketing for butters, spreads & oils Georgina Thomas.

“According to our most recent panel research, one third of shoppers claim to be actively buying dairy-free spreads at least once every three months with intolerance to dairy and general health cited as the top reasons for avoiding or reducing dairy.” 

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Broadway Convenience Store_RTD Iced coffee

6. Iced coffee has perked up breakfast sales

One category that is undoubtedly rejuvenating the breakfast mission is ready-to-drink iced coffee, with total convenience sales valued at £230m (IRI).

Boost marketing director Adrian Hipkiss says: “In the quest for that perfect morning boost, RTD Iced Coffees stand as the clear choice - delivering refreshment and flavour to kickstart the day and revitalize energy.

“We know that the RTD iced coffee category is growing rapidly, providing a huge opportunity for retailers to draw customers in and maximise sales.”

Broadway Convenience in Oxgangs, Edinburgh, stocks an array of RTD iced coffee (see pic), including Starbucks classic cups, Doubleshot Espresso cans and bottles of Frappuccino, as well as £1 PMP Barista Coffee Co. cans.

Owner Dennis Williams says: “Our drinks flew in the warm weather. Anything that gives our shoppers an energy boost proves popular, especially in the morning. It’s important to give new products a go when they’re available and give them time to flourish. We usually give any new product two or three months to build up demand.”

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