Breakfast shown to provide a major business opportunity for drinks

Jarvna  (Shutterstock)

Jarvna (Shutterstock)

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In 2015, Mintel suggested that “the breakfast daypart has enchanted, and disheartened many operators.” Due in large part to the UK industry’s failure to answer consumers’ demands for affordable options with quality ingredients and more beverage options, the recent fashion for eating breakfast out wasn’t initially capitalised upon by the food and drink industry. However, in 2016, this all changed. A year later, their July 2016 “Breakfast Eating Habits report” asserted that 28 per cent of consumers eat breakfast out once a week or more, showing that this year, the shift has been made and breakfast has come into its own as a market force to be reckoned with.

Writing for Eat Out Magazine, Emma Page suggests, “out of home breakfast sales are booming.” This is certainly the case - the number of breakfast occasions grew last year by 8.4 per cent, which, as Big Hospitality report, equates to 9.1 million people eating their breakfast out of the home on a regular basis. Eat Out explain that a new survey by Beacon has found that “Brits are spending £76 million every day on eating out for breakfast. Almost half of those surveyed eat breakfast out more now than they did five years ago”, proving that this is a true area of growth opportunity for the food industry.

Emma Page elaborates that it is not only the simple demand for breakfast that is growing, but also the value that consumers place upon it as a dining experience. “The price consumers are willing to pay for their breakfast is also creeping up to the equivalent of an evening meal”, she says. All of these aspects suggest that, in 2017, breakfast is an essential element for everything from cafes to vendors and high-end restaurants.

Mintel’s key points of reflection for 2016 were:

·         Convenience appeals to today's time-pressed breakfast eater

·         A desire for variety is changing the breakfast occasion

·         Sugar remains an issue

The primary reasons for customers to enjoy a breakfast at an eatery rather than in the kitchen are for a weekend treat with family, whilst staying at hotels, during the commute to work, or simply as a grab-and-go breakfast for convenience. Nigel Phillips, country sales manager at Lamb Weston, told Eat Out Magazine that the opportunity wielded by breakfast dining now amounts to £2.3 billion and is growing rapidly.

He cites this variation of motivators for consumers as an essential aspect that ought to be exploited: “Variety and a choice of price points to suit different breakfast occasions, from a grab-and-go burrito, to a full fried breakfast, are essential in order to capture the morning trade.” Paul Connelly, Managing Director of Beacon, agrees, saying that in order to harness the potential of breakfasts, food outlets should not only maintain the full English breakfast, but also ought to use local produce and offer healthy options for the modern-day health conscious diner. Indeed, according to Restaurant Hospitality, around 72 per cent of adults wish that restaurants would offer breakfast items throughout the day, and variety must be heralded as a central principle in this proliferation of breakfast options.

But it is not only variety that breakfast patrons seek, it is also personalisation. Dave Edwards, head of sales for Mission Foodservice told Eat Out: “Consumers seek involvement with the creation of their food and drink, yet they still want all of the hassle taken away.” How this is to be best achieved is yet to be seen. Some breakfast joints offer write-on checklist-style menus where guests can choose a bread, an egg style and extras for a set price. Others offer more unique breakfast dishes, emphasising side dishes as customisable extras to make each dish unique.

One thing that is certain going into 2017 is that, as Mintel suggest, sugar is a major sticking point in the growing breakfast industry. Jon White, director of Enjay’s Pancakes says that he predicts the trend towards unusual flavours in dishes to play a big part in the response to the sugar tax. He says: “Introducing flavours such as maple syrup, blueberries and apple is an excellent way of adding ‘sweetness’ to a product without the use of sugar.” As breakfast is perhaps the meal that best balances sweet and savoury flavours, the use of natural and botanical ingredients to achieve sweetness is likely to dominate health-orientated outlets looking to offer the indulgence customers expect. Breakfasting out  will remain a treat, whilst catering to their increased awareness of the dangers of sugar.

Craig Coulton, CEO and founder of Bloom, tells Casual Dining Magazine that beverages will remain a central aspect of a successful breakfast menu in 2017. He says: “Herbal and cold brew teas are becoming more prominent, but the real trend right now is matcha – powdered green tea from Japan. Matcha is versatile as it can be made into a traditional hot tea, iced green tea, and matcha lattes or used as a healthy antioxidant booster for topping off juices and smoothies.” Undoubtedly, new healthy drinks trends for 2017 will arise, but what is clear is that beverages are as important as food in achieving a successful breakfast offering in 2017.

All in all, we can see that breakfast is not only the ‘most important meal of the day’ for individuals, but one of the most important meals of the day for food outlets, too.