Since women embrace the breakfast day part, it’s likely that, as moms, many will continue to pass down the belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This helps explain why families are particularly important breakfast users. In 2018, the child population is 74 million strong, accounting for 22% of the total U.S. population. With little change in the number of children expected through 2020, industry players must engage kids earlier and retain relationships through the teen years to realize full market potential. The most effective marketers will leverage honed strategies to increase the connection with the core family market without alienating the childless household.
Older consumers also remain steadfast in their allegiance toward breakfast. The challenge is that the U.S. population is aging. By 2020, the 56.5 million adults aged 65 and over will represent 16.9% of the population. This means that industry players will need to be mindful of the older consumers’ breakfast habits and preferences to ensure market stability. Additionally, industry players may need to work harder to adapt to the preferences of younger consumers for the best opportunity for market growth.
Race/ethnicity also emerges as a distinguishing characteristic in breakfast usage and habits, with blacks and Hispanics championing the importance of breakfast. With an increasingly diverse population, it’s prudent for breakfast marketers to understand that the importance of targeting households across the cultural spectrum. The multicultural consumer requires marketers leverage strategies in order to appeal to respective traditional and cultural values, such as advertising in Spanish to better communicate with Hispanics.
As with any food and beverage market, health and wellness trends are an ever-present influence. Healthy breakfast innovation is prevalent in the grocery aisle, with overnight oats, simple ingredient nutrition bars, and functional yogurts exemplifying the influence. While low calorie and low carb were at one time benchmarks for health food, attention has shifted to a greater focus on low/no sugar or low/no added sugars. Sugar is an ingredient in many packaged breakfast foods, especially cereal and breakfast pastries. While health trends are evident in foodservice too, it can be difficult to discern the importance of health to consumers when they dine out—necessitating breakfast menus feature items that play to indulgence and health independently. Industry players are doing their part in addressing health trends through new product development of better-for-you breakfast, but there’s clearly room for more players to find a seat at this table.