Breakfast's Not For Lingering Anymore
Almost half the people surveyed told market research firm NPD Group they prefer their favorites because they are part of a routine, but they look at breakfast more as a mini-meal, to be consumed quickly.
"More than half of breakfast meals consist of just one or two items," said Dori Hickey, NPD's senior manager of product management. Even weekend breakfasts, when we might indulge ourselves, don't amount to much. "We don't see a marked difference between weekdays and weekends. And over time, the number of items included in breakfast meals has fallen, from 2.46 in 1985 to 2.17 today."
In fact, consumers viewed only 38% of their breakfast meals as a 'full or complete meal'; 45% of the time breakfast was viewed as a 'small or mini meal'; 5% of the time they described breakfast as more of a 'snack,' and 11% of the time it was a beverage-only situation.
According to NPD's annual "Eating Patterns in America" report, some traditional breakfast items eaten at home have been declining in popularity over the past two decades. These include toast, eaten at 13% of in-home breakfasts in 2006, compared to 26% in 1985; and coffee, consumed 32% of the time this year compared to 44% two decades ago.
Products gaining popularity, while still only capturing a minor portion of the breakfast market, include granola or cereal bars (from less than 1% in 1985 to 2% in 2006), yogurt (less than 1% and 2%, respectively), and carbonated soft drinks (1% and 3%, respectively). In the longer-term, even eggs have shown improvement (from 10% in 1996 to 12% in 2006).
Currently, the products consumed most frequently for breakfast at home remain coffee and cold cereal, chosen 32% of the time. Fruit juice is third-most popular at 26%, followed by milk (16%) and bread (15%).
Fruit comes next, at 13%, followed by eggs (12%), hot cereal (9%), bacon (4%) and hot tea (4%).
NPD's latest study was conducted in two waves of surveys involving 1,500 and 1,875 respondents, respectively. Both children and adults participated, with parents providing responses for young kids.