OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. -- Breakfast is “arguably, the hottest segment in foodservice today,” said Peter Romeo, vice president of content for Restaurant Business. But what does “breakfast” mean?
“Consumers are increasingly busy. ‘On the go’ is something that seems to have more focus every day. And we hear all the time about how consumers aren’t eating meals anymore, they’re snacking more,” said Frank Mellman, senior insights manager for The Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich.
The breakfast day-part has morphed into the “morning meal,” he said, stretching throughout the morning and even the rest of the day, and it means different things to different consumers. And smaller, healthier meals and snacks are replacing full meals.
To find out more about these trends, Kellogg’s updated its ReThink Breakfast study. Mellman presented key findings from that study during "ReThink Breakfast: What A.M. Eaters Really Want," a webinar hosted by Kellogg with CSP and Foodservice Director magazines. Moderated by Romeo, the event’s speakers also included Kristen Hamby, category manager for grocery and snacks at distributor The McLane Co., Temple, Texas, Carrie Gerencher, registered dietitian at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., and Joe Kornafel, executive chef, also with Lehigh University.
Click here to view a replay of the webinar.
The top reasons people purchase breakfast.
Kellogg’s split up the breakfast day-part into three sections—early, mid and late—to see what the top needs were at each of those morning day-parts.
“In the early morning, we found that it was all about starting your day; people really wanted to get going, fill their bellies and get out the door,” said Mellman. “That played on into the mid-morning, but by late morning it’s all about bridging between early morning and lunch.”
The top reasons people purchase breakfast:
- They need a quick bite or option.
- They need something to hold them over.
- They need something while shopping.
- They need morning energy or fuel.
- They need something while traveling to work or school.
With these reasons in mind, he described the five types of morning-meal consumers identified by the company’s research. “It makes sense to focus on the consumers that eat in your operation the most frequently,” said Mellman.
Here's the breakdown:
1. Gulp 'n Runners
“These people are busy—they’re eating breakfast to start their day so they can get going, get out the door, get on with whatever it is they have to do, because they’ve got a lot to do,” said Mellman.
This group skews male and younger, he said. There are a lot more millennials in this group.
2. Discerning Dashers.
“These people are busy. Everybody’s busy, but some of these groups are busier than others. … They have a lot to do, and the way that they approach breakfast and merge it in with their busy lives is to eat while they multitask.”
This group skews female, and also younger, more millennial. “They are busy so they meet their food needs while they’re doing other things. They are eating many smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to one big breakfast,” he said.
4. Sit 'n Savorers
“For these people, breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. It is the way that they start their day. … They really feel that if they don’t have breakfast, or don’t have a good breakfast in the morning, the rest of their day is going to be thrown off, and so they really make a concerted effort to have breakfast, center themselves and then go out and start their day," he said.
5. Ninja Munchers
“These people oftentimes are so busy and feel so hectic that they almost forget about breakfast. And they go through their day until all of a sudden they realize, ‘Wait a minute, I haven’t eaten anything. I’m halfway through my to-do list, and I am not going to get through the rest of my to-do list unless I eat something,’ so they pull into the closest place to where they are with food, rush in, grab something and get back out the door," Mellman said.
“Not all groups are equal, nor should they be in your focus,” said Mellman. “Gulp ‘n Runners and Discerning Dashers are the groups that most frequently eat breakfast away from home. In the middle, you have Sit ‘n Savorers, and then on the bottom, you’ve got Sedentary Socializers and Ninja Munchers. Those two groups have less frequency for very different reasons. The Sedentary Socializers are more likely to eat at home as part of their daily routine. They’re also more likely to choose different things when they do go out.”
Convenience is important to all of the groups; however, it is more important for some groups than for others, he said.
It is most important for the Ninja Munchers. “That group is all about convenience,” Mellman said. “It’s also hard to get those people. But we do see that both Discerning Dashers and Gulp ‘n Runners have a higher need for convenience than the other two groups.”
How can convenience-store retailers and other operators take their breakfast operation to the next level and set themselves apart from the competition?
- “You can take advantage of [the trends] by changing your focus a little bit depending on what time of the morning you’re talking about,” Mellman said. “You can consider doing things to take advantage of those opportunities by not only offering grab-and-go foods that would meet your consumers’ needs, but also energy and protein type of solutions.”
- “Satiety” (feeling full) and energy are what consumers are looking for in their morning meals, he said. “You can help them with this need by offering a selection of items that are rich in protein and have healthy claims—not health heavy—but that do make you feel full.”
- Because convenience stores have limited space, retailers should develop, along with their core offering, a rotation of new products to keep consumers interested and keep them coming back.
- “Convenience, speed, portability—these are key factors when deciding where to go,” he said. Retailers should stage their convenient and portable food in areas where consumers can easily see them and get to them—by the door, by the cash register, by the beverages or at a kiosk in a high-traffic area.
- Consider bundling deals that take the food and snacks that consumers want and bundle them with beverages and the coffee program.
Click here to view a replay of the webinar, including merchandising suggestions from McLane and insights into what college students—your future customers—are eating on campus.