- Breakfasts have transformed from an on-the-go experience to a sit-down meal during the pandemic. The indexes for pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes and pork dishes were up over 150 in April compared to this time last year, according to data from market research group The NPD Group cited by Food Business News.
- Breakfast spices, seasonings, marinades and rubs were also up over 150 on NPD's indexes this past April. Sales of breakfast appliances, such as waffle irons and coffee pods, have also increased.
- Susan Schwallie, executive director of food and beverage consumption for The NPD Group, told Food Business News that consumers "may not be willing, or it may be a struggle, to give back some of this time we’ve given to ourselves in the morning."
As busy consumers have desired more convenience from their food, the popularity of on-the-go breakfast options, like bars, have skyrocketed in recent years. But coronavirus hit the pause button on that trend.
Growth in portable breakfast options has begun to shift as families decide to sit down and take the time to eat a prepared breakfast at home while in lockdown. This trend has not only resulted in the revival of dishes more typically reserved for the weekends, such as pancakes and sausage, but there has also been a resurgence in cereal, a segment that has had soggy sales for years. Cereal giants Kellogg and General Mills saw sales rise in the category during this time.
Cereal has always remained on shopping lists, and now consumers are buying more. Shopkick's 2019 cereal survey revealed 96% of consumers buy it almost every time they shop. And now that kids are home all day and parents are providing both breakfast and snacks daily, cereal sales have experienced a significant lift. Over the two months ending April 25, cereal sales increased 34%, according to Nielsen data reported by AdAge.
The efforts of breakfast manufacturers to reposition and innovate breakfast as an indulgent snack may also play into this increase in sales. In May, Kellogg further shifted its cereal innovation efforts to the growing and profitable category of snacks with bigger size bites in a new line of products called Jumbo Snax. And in March, the PepsiCo-owned Aunt Jemima brand launched Cap’n Crunch Berrytastic Pancake Mix and Ocean Blue Maple Flavored Syrup to bring the classic cereal to the breakfast table in a new way.
Recent launches of breakfast items including pancake mixes from the Aunt Jemima brand and breakfast sausage from Beyond Meat indicate manufacturers are investing more in breakfast at home as consumers shift their preferences. Prior to the pandemic, low unemployment and busy schedules outside of the home meant consumers had more disposable income than time for meal preparation, pushing many to grab something quick and portable or head to fast food chains for breakfast. Now, as consumers adjust to this new reality, breakfast could return to the daily routine for the foreseeable future.
Companies that make frozen and shelf-stable options could be some of the big winners from this trend of eating the "most important meal of the day" in the house. With consumers making fewer trips to the grocery store to avoid leaving the home, products that can stay good for extended periods are likely to become new family favorites.