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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Breakfast, lunch and dinner are no longer the only meals for many Americans. The widely adopted belief that it is healthier to eat multiple smaller meals per day is fueling an increased number of breakfast snack products coming onto the market, according to the Washington Post.
Suppliers that have added breakfast bars and yogurt to their lines in recent times include General Mills and Quaker Oats, while Sara Lee's Jimmy Dean brand expanded to include mini-breakfast sandwiches last summer. Meanwhile, fast-food chains have added new breakfast products and programs, such as Taco Bell's "First Meal" pilot program.
"It's breakfast in stages," Liz Sloan, president of industry consulting group Sloan Trends, told the Post. "They'll eat something at home, then stop at Starbucks or a convenience store for coffee and maybe a little snack."
Factors behind the shift in meal times include lack of time, as it is more convenient to bring snacks for later consumption than to sit down for a meal. And the number of times Americans snack is expected to rise faster in the morning than in any other time of day between 2008 and 2018, according to data gathered by The NPD Group. If that growth could be extended to the rest of the day, the snack industry could see an even greater uptick than it did in the past year, when sales rose 3.3 percent to $16.64 billion, according to The Nielsen Co.
Despite these changes, though, marketing breakfast snacks remains difficult because of consumers' belief that they should eat healthy for a good start to the day and their association of snacking with junk food, according to the report. Products that are less than 300 calories and contain more fiber, whole grains or antioxidants are more likely to be successful, due to their ability to help consumers feel energized or full longer.