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Market research: Breakfast choices vary with age and gender

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 27-Jun-2012
Last updated on 27-Jun-2012 at 17:07 GMT

Market research: Breakfast choices vary with age and gender

Breakfast choices vary according to age and gender, and food manufacturers and marketers should consider these differences in their marketing strategies and new product development, says market research organization The NPD Group.

According to the market researcher’s new “Morning MealScape” study, cold cereal and fruit appeal as breakfast choices across all ages and both genders, but there are major differences within other breakfast categories.

The researchers asked consumers why they ate or drank what they did for breakfast that morning. They found that men often were looking to save money and watched out for foods they were trying to avoid. Women were more likely to be motivated by a desire to lose weight. For children under the age of 13, breakfast choices tended to be motivated by what they like, while teenagers were also concerned with how their breakfast looked.

“Food manufacturers interested in connecting their products with consumers in the morning should align product benefits with consumer needs,” said author of the study and director of product development at NPD Dori Hickey.  “Understanding the why behind food and beverage selections provides the knowledge to message to your consumer targets in a way that resonates with their individual motivations.” 

Food marketers increasingly are looking at demographical niches to focus their efforts – a strategy that has become easier for many with the rise of social media, as consumers are volunteering their thoughts about brands and promotions on an unprecedented scale. Market research firm IBIS World said in May that social networks are “critical marketing tools” for brands targeting Millennials in particular.

“The morning meal is a growing but fragmented meal occasion,” Hickey said. “For food manufacturers and retailers to operate successfully in this meal space, they need to understand the ‘why’ behind consumers’ morning meal behaviors.” 

After cold cereal and fruit, women over the age of 18 were most likely to choose hot cereal, while children chose scrambled eggs, according to the market researcher’s findings.

More information on NPD’s report is available online here .

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