CHICAGO – Consumer sales data indicates the breakfast market is not yet saturated and there are plenty of sales opportunities for restaurants, retailers and suppliers in this category. The breakfast segment accounts for 12 percent of the total restaurant industry, generating around $42 billion in annual sales, Technomic estimates.

The number of people buying breakfasts at foodservice locations has increased – particularly at fast-food restaurants where 46 percent of consumers now purchase weekday breakfasts occasionally compared to 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 Darren Tristano, Technomic executive vice president. “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.”

Highlights of Technomic’s recently developed Breakfast Consumer Trend Report include:

  • Consumers usually place more importance on convenience and speed of service than price for breakfast occasions. This indicates consumers are willing to pay more for a morning meal that saves time and fits their daily routine. Approximately 75 percent of consumers surveyed agree a convenient location is important when purchasing a breakfast item from a restaurant or other foodservice location during with 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 25 percent who said the same in 2009.
  • Full-service restaurants excel at providing kids’ options, consumers said, and this presents opportunities for full-service restaurant operators to increase breakfast sales through portable breakfast options.
  • Limited-service restaurants have added more than 230 new breakfast items during the past two years, which shows breakfast remains a growth category for limited-service operators.
  • Health is a major trend. Beyond low-fat/non-fat ingredients, whole grains and multigrain items are a way to signal health. Oatmeal is popular and will continue to be on breakfast menus.