Busy Americans want ‘quick, easy, painless, and portable’ breakfast options, says Packaged Facts

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Breakfast, Packaged facts

Time-strapped Americans are relying on portable, readily packed and portioned breakfasts. Only 35% of respondents define breakfast as something they make themselves. Photo: iStock
Time-strapped Americans are relying on portable, readily packed and portioned breakfasts. Only 35% of respondents define breakfast as something they make themselves. Photo: iStock
Bacon and eggs and toast may be called breakfast food, but a new report by Packaged Facts found that the number of Americans who go all out to prepare breakfast continues to decline.

“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,” ​said the report​, which was released yesterday.

According to data​ from the US Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, the number of snacks consumed per day has doubled since the 1970s​, and it’s natural that the trend is reflecting on how Americans consume their first meal of the day, says Packaged Facts.

A source of energy for older millennials

According to an online survey of 2,023 Americans over the age of 18 commissioned by Packaged Facts, a third of consumers define breakfast as “one that gives them energy.” ​Broken down by demographics, consumers in the 25-34 year age bracket were 60% more likely than average to seek an energy boost from their breakfast, the report noted.

Reflecting this trend is growth in foods such as breakfast bars, breakfast sandwiches, supplements, and energy bars. As more consumers are adapting an active lifestyle​, the report said that “portability is shaping breakfast food usage growth,” ​and “more than half (52%) describe the breakfast they normally have as ‘quick, easy, and painless.’” 

Breakfast, snack, or both?


Yogurt wins the title for flexibility. It straddles breakfast and snacking, as 39% of adults eat it as a snack and 44% eat it for breakfast, says Packaged facts.

And while cold cereal has seen steep declines as a breakfast food because of its low portability and reputation for high sugar content, 55% of consumers see it as a snack, says Packaged Facts, which says manufacturers have tried to capitalize on this opportunity with innovations such as Kellogg’s To Go Breakfast Mix—a cereal mix packaged in single-serve pouches and made to be enjoyed without milk. 

Base: 2,023 adults age 18+
Source: Packaged Facts February 2016 National Online Consumer Survey

The message that breakfast is important fuel for the rest of the day isn’t lost to consumers, the report said, as a majority of consumers view breakfast as more important than lunch or dinner. But these numbers are declining—“the percentage strongly agreeing that breakfast is more important has declined from 37.9% in 2012 to 33.7% in 2015,”​ said the report.

Opportunities for manufacturers

Around 38% of adults said that they normally eat the same selection of foods for breakfast in a week. More than half described breakfast as “quick, easy, and painless,” ​while cost is also a factor when it comes to breakfast shopping, as it’s usually part of the weekly budget for everyday spending instead of a special occasion splurge.

Looking at specific age groups, Millennials are more likely to deviate from this routine as “[they] are not set as fully into longer-term routines and [are] apt to crave more experimentation," ​said Packaged Facts.

“The key for breakfast marketers concerns understanding how routine shapes the food choices of key target groups,”​ the report said.

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