How America starts the day: breakfast trends

Breakfast gives the body a jump start after a long night’s rest. And it appears that consumers are starting to believe what moms and nutritionists have been saying for who knows how long. This is a photographic of emerging American breakfast trends.

According to a survey by The Food Channel, 95% of respondents consider breakfast to be very or somewhat important, and two-thirds eat breakfast every day. But what are they eating? What do they want? Eggs, apparently, as 50% said they eat eggs for breakfast most often.

But there’s more. Research conducted by The Food Channel, in conjunction with CultureWaves, the International Food Futurists and Mintel International, revealed 10 breakfast trends that are helping the nation’s consumers start their day right…. and they’re rather different from the typical SA breakfast experience!


Both FDA and EFSA recognize the heart-health benefits of oats with health claims, and it seems as if both industry and consumers have taken note. Consumers can grab oatmeal at their neighborhood McDonald’s drive-through, during their morning Starbucks run and along with their Jamba Juice smoothie. According to The Food Channel, consumers are increasingly cooking up steel-cut oats at home, too.


Chocolate for Breakfast was deemed the No. 1 gourmet food trend at the Winter Fancy Food Show, based on observations of a National Association for the Specialty Food Trade panel. Although it seems like a decadent, indulgent a.m. treat, dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain higher amounts of polyphenols and flavanols than fruit juice, according to one study.


Eggs seem to have fully rebounded from the 2010 recall, thanks in part to a USDA-ARS nutritional review that revealed eggs contain 14% less cholesterol and 64% more vitamin D than previously recorded.


The Food Channel says consumers are “fueling up with caffeine and protein in a two-stage process,” beginning with perhaps coffee and toast at home, followed by a mid-morning snack of yogurt, fruit or a power bar, and maybe another cup of joe.

All-day Breakfast

Consumers, it seems, can’t get enough of breakfast foods and are asking for them all day long. It’s a trend that has been building for a while now, as evidenced by a 2009 Technomic survey where consumers, especially women, said they’d like to see restaurants offer breakfast anytime. The flavors of breakfast–BACON–are also spilling into other dayparts and other food categories.


Pizza for breakfast used to mean eating cold leftovers from the night before. Now, according to a Packaged Facts trend report, it means pizza topped with traditional morning foods, like eggs, bacon and fruit.


Coffee, tea or energy drink? Young adults are getting their morning jolt from energy drinks, a category that shows no signs of waning. According to New Nutrition Business, the energy drink market in the U.S. is worth over $6 billion and growing at 10% annually. Other morning beverage options include carbonated fruit juices, antioxidant-rich fruit juices, and seasonal juices that reflect the “eating local” trend.


Ethnic is in. According to a report from Mintel, sales of ethnic foods in America have steadily risen since 2004, hitting a record-high $2.2 billion in 2009, with 20% more growth forecasted from 2010 to 2014. In addition to Hispanic-inspired breakfast burritos, tacos and quesadillas, European-style breakfasts — bangers and mash, cheeses, baked beans and cold cuts — are also taking hold.

Coffee at Home

More consumers are getting their caffeine fix at home, buying whole beans and grinding them, and investing in French presses and espresso machines. The Food Channel also notes that consumers are trading in long coffeehouse lines for supermarket shelves “bulging with ready-to-drink cappuccinos, frappuccinos and lattes for enjoying in the comfort of one’s home.”

Fast Food

According to Mintel, more than 50% of all breakfast meals eaten away from home are from a fast-food restaurant. Subway, which just recently bumped McDonald’s from its spot as No 1 chain, is one of the newest players in the quick-service breakfast game.