BREAKFAST – Most important meal of the day

Your mum probably told you, “Always have a good breakfast”: and Mum knew best, with all the evidence showing she was right.

Breakfast is widely considered to be our most important meal of the day: we literally do well to have it, as it’s been found to aid concentration and cognitive function. Despite popular assumptions that many consumers amissing out on breakfast, Mintel’s February 2010 Consumer Breakfast Eating Habits report shows that only a tenth of us skip breakfast, with two thirds of consumers eating breakfast at home every day.

A key breakfast food market driver is consumer demand for quick and convenient breakfast solutions that are easy to prepare, as well as desire for a healthy meal to start the day. With longer working hours and family and leisure commitments, consumers want to save time even when eating breakfast solutions, and this is reflected in the breakfast foods they choose.

Food items you can eat on the go have proved popular, but not everybody wants to have breakfast on the bus or train, or in the car. Britain’s number One breakfast food continues to be cereals and toast, mainly because these need little or no preparation time.

As a nation we’re addicted to breakfast cereal, spooning out a tasty £28 per head on these products per year in 2009, according to Mintel, or £1.8 billion, up from £1.7 billion in 2008. The research experts predict our cereal habit hitting a hefty £2.2 billion by 2014.

Mintel shows 7 out of 8 UK adults eat breakfast cereal cold at least once a day, and 6% of UK adults down a bowlful at other times of day as an easy, quick and nutritious meal substitute. Force Wheat Flakes first came here in 1902, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes arrived in 1922 and muesli first became popular in the 1960s. Cereal bars appeared a lot more recently, but are now worth an impressive £310 million. Ready to eat cereals make up the biggest proportion of the UK market (76%), with consumers spending £1.3 billion on this cereal type in 2008.

Finally, despite angst about watching our cholesterol, many of us still love a cooked breakfast when we can get one. Bacon is the nation’s favourite cooked breakfast ingredient, with consumers forking out a crispy £18 per head in the past year alone. Eggs come second, with Brits shelling out £10 per head annually. Also placed in the breakfast race are sausages, on which consumers spent an average of £9 per head, and canned beans, an average spend of £5 per head. Top of the morning to you!

The Grocery Trader