What’s Happening in Breakfast in C-Stores?

The Kellogg Co. highlights morning foodservice trends in Outlook Leadership Community
Photograph: Shutterstock

CHICAGO — The breakfast daypart is changing, driven by millennial and Gen Z customers, and the coronavirus pandemic.

And there are steps convenience-store operators can take to optimize their breakfast strategy, according to Cassandra Drinkard, senior manager of insights with Kellogg’s Food Away From Home, and Kati Kaufman, senior wellbeing and regulatory business partner at Kellogg North America Health & Wellness.

People are looking for more variety when it comes to breakfast, Drinkard said, speaking on a webinar for Winsight/CSP’sOutlook Leadership Community.

“Because we’re so global now as Americans, our flavors, our tastebuds are expanding. Therefore, we can no longer just say, These foods are just for breakfast,’ or This time frame is just for breakfast,’ because there’s so much blurring going on,” Drinkard said.

The breakfast timeframe isn’t as popular amid the pandemic as it once was, she said. Fewer people are eating out as many no longer make a morning commute to work or school. It may take until 2022 or 2025 for breakfast trends to return to normal, she said.

However, this doesn’t mean breakfast is dead. There are actually limitless opportunities if breakfast isn’t defined by a certain time or type of food, according to Drinkard. One opportunity is in snacking.

Twenty-one percent of millennials and 20% of Gen Z respondents said they are purchasing more snack options form restaurants in place of meals, according to a Lightspeed/Mintel survey. C-stores should consider marketing filling and energizing midmorning snacks, like protein bars, Drinkard said.

Another growing preference is delivery.

“We’re finding that more convenience stores are catering to the customer who either wants delivery and/or carry out or curbside ordering because everyone’s afraid since COVID-19 has happened, so we have to be mindful of that,” she said.

So how can retailers optimize their menus to win breakfast? Kaufman gave these tips:

  • Snack-ify breakfast: Almost 40% of Gen Z consumers would rather eat a snack for breakfast than a meal, according to Mintel’s Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends.
  • Bundle it: Coffee is one thing consumers are skipping. Attract coffee drinkers to bundled items that can be grabbed on the go.
  • Offer variety: Sell meals that are fresh, high in protein and fiber, and that can meet health and indulgence expectations.
  • Use new flavors to drive appeal.
  • Know your audience.

Although COVID-19 has changed consumer habits, those consumers are willing to eat breakfast away from home when they have convenient and diverse meal solutions, Kaufman said.

  • Click here to join OLC and to watch the Kellogg on-demand webinar.

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