Blurring the Line Between Breakfast and Snack

Growth opportunities still exist apart from day-part, says report

breakfast sandwich

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Consumers continue to embrace snacking, not only as viable day-part option, but also as a paradigm through which to view eating in general. They are eating smaller, more frequent meals, and this has caused and will continue to cause changes in consumers’ relationships with traditional breakfast foods, Packaged Facts said in a new report, "Breakfast: Retail Market Trends and Opportunities in the U.S."

“As restaurant brands such as Denny’s have long known, and as McDonald’s success with all-day breakfast cements, foods traditionally associated with the breakfast day-part can also find success during other parts of the day and/or as a snack,” said David Sprinkle, research director of Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md.

Embracing snacking as a breakfast option is clearly important: About one-quarter (24%) of consumers often snack in the morning instead of having a full meal. The tendency to snack for breakfast is most pronounced among younger adults and those with children in the household, and they should be targeted accordingly.

Long associated with snacking (thanks in part to single-serve packaging that promises portability and small portions) and the ease with which it can be incorporated into a variety of meals as a major ingredient (yogurt, granola and fruit; yogurt-based smoothies; etc.) yogurt straddles breakfast and snacking. Some 39% of adults eat yogurt as a snack, while 44% eat yogurt for breakfast.

But other foods closely associated with breakfast also have made their way into the snacking realm, such as bacon (43% for breakfast vs. 16% as a snack), cold cereal (55% vs. 25%) and even pancakes/French toast (33% vs. 13%).

For many, comparatively low snacking usage penetration suggests that snack-based growth opportunities might still exist, given the proper alignment of packaging, portability and preparation requirements. One company that realized this, for example, was Kellogg’s. As part of a company initiative to narrow the gap in the single-serve snack food opportunity, Kellogg’s put some of its cereals in grab-and-go cups, including Frosted Flakes with Energy Clusters, Special K Protein, Froot Loops Bloopers and Special K granola. Additionally, the company launched Kellogg’s To Go Breakfast Mix—a cereal mix packaged in single-serve pouches and made to be enjoyed without milk. The cereal pieces are made with snacking in mind and are larger than traditional cereal pieces. The resealable pouch is designed to fit in a car’s cup holder.