Health and taste key drivers at breakfast

Breakfast goods

A vital sales opportunity every day, the breakfast products market has continued to evolve with healthier offerings that don’t compromise on taste driving sales, finds SLR.

When it comes to unlocking the breakfast opportunity in-store, it will come as no surprise that the key drivers for modern shoppers are healthier lines that don’t compromise on taste. It’s a formula that is impacting on most categories in-store with more and more shoppers increasingly concerned with an improved but nonetheless enjoyable diet.

For many shoppers that means starting the day the right way, with a healthy, tasty breakfast – and the good news is that the trend towards making a point of eating breakfast more frequently continues. According to the latest research by Kantar Worldpanel, the number of people starting the day by eating breakfast continues to grow with breakfast occasions rising by 0.7% in the past year to 2.1 billion.

That most traditional of Scottish breakfasts, porridge, pushes all the right buttons in terms of slow release energy, low fat and low sugar, as well as being relatively inexpensive – which may explain why porridge has become less and less winter-centric and more of a year-round purchase for many.

Alan Meikle, Managing Director of Hamlyns of Scotland, says porridge sales are now strong throughout the year, with much less of a winter peak than in previous years. He says: “Porridge has always been the favourite breakfast choice for healthy eaters, but the growing trend for breakfast on-the-go, satisfied by the wide range of instant porridge pots and sachets, and the huge interest in making overnight oats mean that porridge really is a year-round breakfast favourite.

“We used to ramp up production at our mill in Boyndie over the build- up to winter and through the winter months, but we’re now working 24/7 all year-round to cope with demand.”

Hamlyns has also just committed to promoting healthier breakfasting with a further 12 months’ support for the Food for Thought programme, which is funded by Business in the Community Scotland, Education Scotland and the Scottish Government. The programme helps spread the healthy eating message in Scottish schools. At the same time, it aims to provide a better understanding of the importance of the food and drink industry to the Scottish economy.

Over the past year Hamlyns has worked on a ‘Healthy Breakfast Challenge’ in primary schools across Scotland. The most recent challenge saw more than 140 children from P4–P7 from Heriot Primary in Paisley take part in a range of activities designed to educate them about the importance of starting the day with a healthy breakfast.

Meikle comments: “Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, especially for young people who need fuel for their brains and their bodies. The Healthy Breakfast Challenge helps participants to create a healthy breakfast habit.”

Taste matters

But while shoppers want to feel good about eating a healthy breakfast, they still want those products to be tasty and enjoyable. Breakfast biscuits have done a great job of meeting those needs with a good example being belVita’s recent launch of a Duo Crunch Chocolate Hazelnut line.

The launch from the UK’s number one healthy biscuit brand [Nielsen, Jan 2017], contains two crunchy biscuits made with wholegrain cereals with a chocolate and hazelnut filling. The multipack of five has an RSP of £2.79 and comes in cases of eight.

Daniel Kessler, Senior Brand Manager for belVita, says: “Mondelēz International is committed to investment in NPD and each new product has a distinct purpose to bring new consumers to the belVita brand. belVita Duo Crunch Chocolate Hazelnut is the next step in this journey with a new taste and textural experience.

“From other belVita platforms we have in the UK, chocolate is the most popular flavour so we were keen to introduce it into the Duo Crunch range. This flavour is the number one SKU in our Duo Crunch range in France so we’re confident that it’s going to be a hit in the UK as well – for retailers and consumers alike.”

Since launch, belVita Breakfast has led the segment by expanding into new formats that satisfy consumer need states and is now worth £79m [Nielsen, Dec 2016], currently growing at 11% growth [Nielsen, Dec 2016].


Consuming food on-the-go is one of the megatrends in recent years and breakfast is no exception. The overall food-to-go market is now worth a mammoth £3.9bn annually and accounts for 894 million trips to store every year [HIM CTP 2016]. So there’s never been a better time for retailers to review their on-the-go breakfast offering to make sure they’re maximising this growing sales opportunity.

Vincent Brook, Head of Retail UK at Aryzta Food Solutions, explains: “In recent times, breakfast has become an increasingly important meal, particularly for those people whose lives have become busier and who are on the lookout for food that can be enjoyed on the move.

“The importance of hot on-the-go breakfast items cannot be overlooked, with the Pierre’s food-to-go solution enabling retailers to meet the need for hot, fresh breakfast options that can be eaten on the move.”

Hot breakfast-to-go merchandising

Aryzta Food Solutions offers the following advice to ensure retailers maximise profits from hot breakfast products to go:

  • Baking ‘little & often’ helps reduce wastage and meets consumer demand for ‘fresh’ products.
  • With many people now skipping the traditional breakfast at home, and with the continued rise of coffee, there’s a key opportunity for retailers to implement a link purchase such as a coffee with a croissant or pain au chocolat to maximise the breakfast-to-go occasion.
  • One third of shoppers buy on impulse so positioning counter top and floor standing units near to a coffee offering, retailers can generate additional sales. Aryzta’s coffee solution for Seattle’s Best Coffee has been designed for the convenience retailer, and integrates two stands to hold both morning products and afternoon sweet treat products such as cookies, muffins and doughnuts, enabling retailers to increase their basket spend and upsell to shoppers whilst they are waiting for their coffee to pour.

Brook says more and more independent retailers are also looking at dual-siting their in-store bakery fixture next to a coffee machine to give added appeal for shoppers looking for an all-round breakfast solution on the move. It’s a simple but effective way to boost on-the-go breakfast sales, he believes.

Brook recommends having a good selection of hot and cold breakfast items that can be enjoyed on-the-go, as convenience and choice are key factors for shoppers when making their selection.

Aryzta Food Solutions offers several hot breakfast items under its Pierre’s solution, such as the Bacon Roll, Sausage Roll, Croque Monsieur, Ham & Cheese Croissant Wraps and Bacon and Sausage Baps, as well as a range of pastries under its Cuisine de France in-store bakery concept. These include traditional favourites such as all-butter Croissants, Danish Pastries, Pain au Chocolat, Chocolate Twist and Maple Pecan Plait.

The company has also recently launched a new Thaw & Serve range delivering an average margin of 35%. It includes a fully-baked croissant, raisin swirl and chocolate hazelnut croissant all with RSPs of 70p.

Cereal thrillers

Cereals remain a core element of the breakfast-at-home offering with over 95% of the UK population have bought cereals in the past year [Kantar, Feb 2017], which translates to 19 billion occasions annually [Kantar, Nov 2016]. In total, the cereals category is worth £1.3bn in the UK [Nielsen, Mar 2017].

Eric Williams, Quaker Oats Marketing Manager, comments: “Eating breakfast at home is the biggest opportunity for retailers in terms of breakfast occasions although the on-the-go (OTG) breakfast occasion is growing the strongest at 27.7% [Kantar, Dec 2016]. Retailers should therefore consider how they can cater to the out-of-home and OTG occasion, with 49% of people eating breakfast out of home, 30% of which are OTG [Mintel, Jul 2016].”

To meet these demands, Williams recommends retailers mix a range including Porridge Pots, Porridge Sachets and Traditional Loose Oats. A new opportunity also exists to stock Overnight Oat Pots, a convenient way for customers to enjoy oats by simply adding milk in the evening, refrigerating, and then consuming chilled in the morning.

Quaker owner PepsiCo has also recently introduced new Oats So Simple Protein Sachets to tap into the protein cereals segment, which has grown by 274% over the last year [Kantar, Jan 2017]. The company believes the launch will allow retailers to maximise their cereal sales by offering a fast, convenient, nutrient-packed format for existing Quaker shoppers as well as appealing to a new audience looking for a high protein option.

The company’s Fruit & Oat Squeeze pouches have also been re-launched with a new recipe made using a combination of natural yoghurt, fruit and oats, with no added sugar. Containing no colours or preservatives, the 200g pouches (RSP £1.39) are available in three flavours: Red Fruit, Apple & Cinnamon and Blueberry.

Tea still key

For millions of customers, breakfast is not complete without a cup of tea. According to the Tea Advisory Council, over 70% of the population say they are regular tea drinkers. The tea market is worth over £33m annually and of the 165 million cups of tea drunk daily in the UK, over 100 million are consumed before 1pm. Surprisingly, given the huge array of flavours of tea now available, standard black tea still accounts for 89% of sales.

David Rich, Channel Business Manager UK & Ireland, Twinings, says that while breakfast-to-go is becoming an increasingly important offering for retailers, hot drinks and especially tea, remain a key ingredient in meeting the needs of customers who still want to enjoy breakfast at home.

Twinings recommends making premium teas easy as possible to shop. Retailers will meet most of their customers’ needs if they aim for the following representation within the sector:

  • Two best-selling Speciality Black teas: English Breakfast and Earl Grey
  • Two best-selling Green teas: Pure Green and Green & Lemon
  • Two best-selling herbal infusions: Pure Peppermint and Pure Lemon & Ginger