chaz2As a nation, we’re getting busier and busier, with millions of Brits combining going out to work with bringing up families or caring for elderly relatives, or heroically juggling all three roles. The resulting time pressures, together with our growing snacking culture, are contributing to more people breakfasting with convenience foods that are quick to prepare and snack foods eaten on the go.

Breakfast plays a vital part in consumers’ daily lives. According to market research experts Mintel just under two thirds of consumers eat breakfast as an important part of their daily routine, while just over half feel it helps get their day started.

Despite assumptions that large numbers of consumers are not eating breakfast in the home, the opposite appears to be true, with three quarters of consumers eating breakfast at home every day, and only a small percentage (6%) never doing so.

In contrast just under two thirds of consumers never eat breakfast out of the home, with the greatest frequency of eating out being once a fortnight or less. With the recession putting pressure on family budgets, consumers are opting to eat at home more often, and so offering opportunities to retailers and manufacturers to capture more of the breakfast time market.

According to Mintel, 75% of consumers eat cereal for breakfast, either a ready-to-eat cereal like corn flakes that simply requires hot or cold milk or a hot cereal like porridge. Younger consumers prefer cold cereals; hot cereals have an older profile. Toast is also a popular breakfast choice and a versatile option, with a wide array of spreads and other accompaniments.

Full English breakfasts are eaten by a fifth of consumers, however, due to time pressures and health considerations they are regarded as an occasional treat, mainly for weekends.

Breakfast’s place as the most important meal in the day has been highlighted as one of the eight healthy eating tips in the FSA’s ‘Eat well, be well’ campaign. Medical evidence points to eating breakfast having a positive effect on mood, concentration levels and cognitive performance. It is also said to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals required to make it through the day.

Finally, the last Government was often accused of creating a nanny state. It even badgered us about breakfast. Among its guidelines for healthy living, it urged parents to ensure that children eat breakfast before school, citing studies showing that those who do so perform better, are more alert and were less likely to be overweight, compared to those who skip breakfast.

The Grocery Trader

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