Packaged Facts reports on breakfast trends

26 Aug 2016

Despite food industry trends favouring healthy, gluten-free, and portable products, Packaged Facts' report “Breakfast: Retail Market Trends and Opportunities in the U.S.” reveals that more than half of U.S. households (60%) use waffle/pancake mix.

Packaged Facts reports on breakfast trends

If you love your breakfast food saturated in sweet sticky syrup, you are not alone, according to market researcher Packaged Facts. Despite food industry trends favouring healthy, gluten-free, and portable products, it's clear that Americans haven't entirely given their favourite battered breakfast foods the boot, it claims.

The company’s report “Breakfast: Retail Market Trends and Opportunities in the U.S.” reveals that more than half of U.S. households (60%) use waffle/pancake mix. Likewise, just under half (48%) opt for frozen varieties of waffles, pancakes, and French toast.

Ten years ago, household use of pancake/waffle mix was as high as 64%. Reliance on these affordable mixes rose further during the recession, the company notes. Inevitably, it says, there has been a modest decline as the economy has recovered, reflecting the trend towards a return to home cooking and reduced price sensitivity generating movement toward premium package goods and dining out. In addition, Americans watching their diets are 7% less likely to use pancake/waffle mix due to gluten intolerance, the rport says.

At the same time, use of frozen waffles/pancakes/French toast has remained steady, with a modest downturn noted for 2014-2015. Ultimately, these frozen breakfast options remain affordable, Packaged Facts believes - therefore insulating the category against reactive recessionary spending triggers. Frozen breakfast waffles/pancakes/French toast also meet demand for convenience and for being a "quick, easy and painless" breakfast. Moreover, the company notes that industry players are developing packaging formats to increase portability. Nevertheless, as is the case with mixes, the frozen category hasn't been completely immune to the gluten-free trend: Packaged Facts found that those watching their diet because of gluten intolerance are 15% less likely to use these frozen breakfast items.

Echoing an evolving consumer lifestyle trend, portability is shaping breakfast food usage growth beyond pancakes and waffles, the report finds. Portable foods such as breakfast bars, breakfast sandwiches, supplements and energy bars drove usage uptake during 2006-2015. Traditional breakfast staples, such as eggs, bacon, and sausage are undergoing slight to moderate usage declines, in part because use does not fit as easily into consumer demands for quick and portable breakfast solutions. Cold cereal, another breakfast staple, has suffered from steeper declines: while cold cereal provides a quick, easy breakfast solution, it also suffers from lack of portability and may generally remain under pressure for high sugar content—scrutiny not unlike what pancakes and waffles face. Again, says the company, this points back to what consumers want the most.

"Today's consumers seek simplicity on their approach to breakfast. They want no fuss, no drama, no confusion, and no time wasted," said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. "For many, breakfast choices involve removing pain points that could clog the flow of their day and weighing breakfast choices in terms of value for time. In each case, cost lurks in the background, since the breakfast someone normally has is not a splurge or a special occasion; it's part of the weekly budget for everyday spending. But simplicity drives choice."

“Breakfast: Retail Market Trends and Opportunities in the U.S.” analyses industry and consumer trends shaping the U.S. retail breakfast market, and eight food and beverage categories significant to the retail market for breakfast, including hot and cold cereal; breakfast entrées and sandwiches; pancakes, waffles and French toast; breakfast baked goods; breakfast meats and meat alternatives; yogurt; breakfast and nutrition bars and breakfast supplements; and kids' breakfast.