Consumer Seeking Healthier Breakfast Items

CHICAGO -- In order to lure back customers to an already over-crowded breakfast marketplace, restaurant operators will need to give consumers what they want—and according to latest research from Mintel, that’s a healthy breakfast, as 66 percent of consumers said they are interested in healthier breakfast options.

Promisingly, Mintel’s research shows breakfast sales are expected to rebound in 2011, resulting in 4.1 percent growth and the healthy eating message is echoed by the 39 percent of restaurant diners who said breakfast options at their local eateries are too unhealthy. Regardless of the day of the week, two-fifths of consumers who eat breakfast out (39 percent on weekdays and 40 percent on weekends) said healthy breakfast options are the most important factor when selecting a breakfast spot.

“The demand for better-for-you options will likely continue as menu labeling laws go into effect,” said Eric Giandelone, director of foodservice research at Mintel. “Once customers see how much fat and calories are in their favorite breakfast foods, they will be more inclined to try a healthier alternative, and restaurant operators should adjust their menus accordingly.”

In good news for convenience stores, 43 percent of restaurant users said they rarely have time to eat breakfast at home during the week, but another 50 percent said it’s just too time-consuming to stop for breakfast at a restaurant. Also, almost half of restaurant-goers said convenience is an important selection factor when dining out for breakfast.

“Convenience clearly is a significant factor, everyone’s time is precious in the morning. And of course, cost continues to be a concern,” Giandelone said. “In a perfect world, restaurants will want to focus development efforts on how to provide patrons with easy, healthy, and flavorful breakfasts that are not cost prohibitive. Or least target some of those points.”

Mintel’s research also found that popular breakfast menu items vary by the day of the week. Breakfast sandwiches are the most popular on weekdays with 42 percent of restaurant-goers, while platter meals are the clear favorite on the weekends with 43 percent.

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