CHICAGO -- While breakfast sales have grown steadily for restaurants, retailers and suppliers over the past few years, new consumer data from Technomic Inc. shows that the market is not yet saturated and there are still plenty of growth opportunities within the morning daypart.
Technomic estimates that the breakfast segment accounts for 12 percent of the total restaurant industry, generating around $42 billion in annual sales. Breakfast patronage is up at foodservice locations, particularly fast-food restaurants, where 46 percent of consumers now occasionally purchase weekday breakfasts compared to just 33 percent in 2009.
"Breakfast is a very dynamic segment in which consumers are looking for healthier options and place a premium on convenience," said Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano. "Our busy lives and weekly routines drive the need for fast, convenient options in the morning. When consumers don't have convenient options, they're increasingly bringing breakfast from home to eat elsewhere."
To help operators more effectively identify opportunities for growth and competitive advantage, Technomic developed the Breakfast Consumer Trend Report. Interesting findings include:
• Consumers generally place greater importance on convenience and speed of service than price for breakfast occasions, indicating that consumers are willing to pay more for a morning meal that saves them time and fits their daily routine. About 75 percent of consumers surveyed agree that a convenient location is important when purchasing a breakfast item from a restaurant or other foodservice location during the week.
• Coffee is playing an increasingly important role in consumers' breakfast purchasing decision: 33 percent of consumers who drink coffee at breakfast indicate they are loyal to a coffee brand or restaurant that serves their preferred coffee, up from just 25 percent of consumers who said the same in 2009.
• Consumers say full-service restaurants excel at providing kids' options, which signals opportunities for full-service restaurant operators to boost their breakfast sales through portable breakfast options.
• Over the past two years, limited-service restaurants have added more than 230 new breakfast items, illustrating that breakfast remains a growth category for limited-service.
• Health is a top trend to watch. Beyond low-fat/non-fat ingredients, whole grains and multigrain items are a way to signal health. Oatmeal is booming and will continue to be prevalent on breakfast menus.
Technomic's Breakfast Consumer Trend Report examined preferences, attitudes and purchasing behavior based on survey results from more than 1,500 consumers.