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LOS ANGELES — Time is a major factor in consumers' decisions about what to eat for the first meal of the day, according to results of a poll conducted by market research firm Instantly Inc. that explores issues related to convenience, fast food and time constraints for what is known as the most important meal of the day.
More than half of Americans do not consistently eat breakfast every day of the week, and 12 percent rarely eat breakfast at all.
Among those who rarely eat breakfast, a lack of time is the second most-selected reason for not doing so, following a lack of appetite in the morning.
When time is a constraint, Americans are most likely to purchase something on the go (43 percent) or skip breakfast altogether (21 percent). When eating on the go, 63 percent of poll respondents might grab something from home; 45 percent would visit a drive-thru restaurant; and 31 percent might stop at a convenience store or gas station.
McDonald's is the most popular fast-food restaurant, as 44 percent of poll respondents name it as their "go-to" destination for food in the morning, compared to Taco Bell (4 percent), Burger King (5 percent) and Jack in the Box (4 percent).
While 52 percent of Americans believe fast-food menus have become healthier in the last year, 57 percent are still concerned about the nutritional content of fast-food breakfasts. Despite this, 72 percent believe fast-food chains should sell breakfast items all day long.
"In the U.S., with longer work days that break out of the 9-5 model, timing and convenience has become a deciding factor in what many Americans eat in the morning," stated Instantly Chief Marketing Officer Andy Jolls. "But that doesn't mean demand for breakfast foods is low. If companies can provide breakfast in a format that accommodates busy schedules while appealing to taste and nutrition, they could see significant incremental growth."
When time is not a factor, taste and health benefits are the most important deciding factors in breakfast food, while portion size and cost are considered the least important factors in deciding what to eat.
Complete results of the study are available here.