Butterball breakfast sandwich
Consumers don't have a lot of time for breakfast, so convenience is key.

People approach breakfast with the most noble of intentions. They understand it is the meal that sets the tone for the rest of the day. The correlation between breakfast and a healthy lifestyle is strong in the minds of consumers.

Despite their best intentions, most people don’t always eat breakfast. According to Technomic, Inc.’s “The breakfast consumer trend report,” 63 percent of consumers believe it’s unhealthy to skip breakfast, but only 26 percent actually eat breakfast every day. The statistics get better with consumers who eat breakfast on a regular basis. And when it comes to choosing what they will have for breakfast, most consumers succumb to easy and portable rather than nutritious.

While priorities at breakfast may differ across demographics, the common theme among all consumers is convenience, according to David Skinner, marketing manager, J. Skinner Baking, Omaha, Neb.
The data backs him up. According to the Technomic report, 37 percent of consumers skip breakfast because of lack of time, and while 20 percent of people eat breakfast away from home, that doesn’t mean they’re going through the drive-thru. Most consumers source their breakfast at home to save money.

“The handheld segment continues to grow and is one of the key growth drivers of frozen breakfast,” said Trinh Le, associate director, brand marketing, frozen foods, Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Mich.
This grab-and-go culture drives the need for portable breakfast options that also provide some nutrition so consumers can feel good about starting the day right with fast and easy choices.

“Today, consumers want it all: convenience and ingredients they’re familiar with, and they’re open to functional ingredients, products fortified with fiber and protein,” Skinner said.

As protein gains buzz, breakfast is an obvious place for the trend to latch on. Eggs dominate the day part with 53 percent of consumers agreeing eggs are good for their health, according to Technomic. The health perception around the egg aids in the continued popularity of the ever-convenient breakfast sandwich served by many fast-food operations.

To meet the growing demand for more protein as well as to cater to mothers searching for portable and satisfying breakfast options, Kellogg has launched breakfast sandwiches under its Eggo brand. The sandwiches include different breakfast meats, egg and cheese between two Eggo waffles. The product is convenient and may be heated in 90 seconds at home or in the office microwave, contains less than 300 calories and boasts a good source of protein.

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Eggo breakfast sandwiches
Food manufacturers are innovating to create nutritious breakfasts to fit consumers' on-the-go lifestyles.

“We know that people are seeking more protein at breakfast,” Le said. “New Eggo breakfast sandwiches — containing egg, cheese and sausage — provide protein from the foods people love.”

The breakfast sandwiches also are available in a bacon, egg and cheese variety as well as an egg-and-cheese style.

Such stand-by proteins as bacon and sausage may always hit home runs with consumers, but quick-service restaurants are also finding that using meats and cheeses perceived as being of premium quality may add interest to their menus. Paired with artisan sandwich breads, the trendy breakfast sandwiches may grab the attention of consumers, particularly millennials, looking for something different but still convenient and healthy.

While survey findings suggest all consumers prioritize convenience for breakfast, certain demographics gravitate toward more nutritious or functional ingredients. At the top of the list are millennials. Recently surpassing baby boomers as the largest purchasing demographic, millennials are perhaps one of the most informed, health-conscious consumers of all groups. They read ingredient lists avidly and want to see things they recognize, but they also want ingredients that are functional and going to improve their health.

“The overall theme is minimally processing your ingredients,” Skinner said. “What people want is something real.”

Breakfast foods touch consumers’ lives in different and important ways; as families juggle busy schedules with balanced nutrition, young adults try to make informed decisions about their diets and baby boomers just need a healthy kick to start the day. While increasingly on-the-go lifestyles make it difficult for people to make good nutrition decisions about the first meal of the day, food manufacturers are innovating to fit healthy breakfast options into people’s hectic lives.

Indulgent with clean labels or nutrition-packed and tasty — as long as breakfast is convenient, there’s room at the table for everyone.