Breakfast loses status as ‘most important meal of the day’, says report

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Today's high-paced lifestyles means traditional meals like breakfast are taking a back seat. Pic: ©GettyImages/Aleutie
Today's high-paced lifestyles means traditional meals like breakfast are taking a back seat. Pic: ©GettyImages/Aleutie

Related tags Breakfast

Royal DSM’s latest survey found one in four consumers spend less than five minutes per day on breakfast.

The report is the first part of the company’s 2018 Global Insight Series, which examines the breakfast habits and behaviors of consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Results show more than a quarter of the respondents spend just five minutes to prepare and consume breakfast during the week, however, 76% say it must at least be healthy.

Furthermore, 69% of the respondents choose healthy over cheap foods, while, surprisingly, 65% put health above taste.

Bread still ahead

When it comes to what people are choosing to eat, Carin Gerzon, global head of marketing communications for DSM food Specialities, told BakeryandSnacks 40% chose bread, while only 25% broke the fast with cereal during the week.

Kiddie insights

DSM - better breakfasts key visual

As ‘the next generation of grocery store shoppers’, the survey included a panel of children who were asked to rate how they perceived how healthy their choices were on a scale of 1 to 10, with a majority rating themselves seven out of 10.

“I think I’m a seven-and-a-half because sometimes I like bad food, but I also like strawberries and blueberries,”​ said Sophie, age 11.

“I think [I’m a] seven because sometimes I do eat healthy, and other times I don’t, but I make sure that I’m active a lot,”​ said Stephen, age 13.

The group consider granola, yogurt and blueberries to be healthy, and all admit preferring bagels and pancakes to cereals but concede these should be kept as weekend treats. Most of the kids were also aware of food allergies – for example, nuts and lactose – and knew what alternatives are available.

It is a different scene over the weekend, though.

“When there is more time to prepare breakfast, we see a greater number of people enjoying pancakes and waffles (up from 12% during the week to 20% on the weekend) or more indulgent items such as croissants and pastries (up from 10% to 18%),”​ she said.

“What was interesting to learn is that, even though many consumers are very pressed for time in the morning, they still have high expectations for the health and quality of their breakfast foods,”​ she added.

Under the magnifying glass

Products are no longer just taken ‘at face value.’

More than half of the respondents read food labels more often today than they did five years ago, while 56% first look at the ingredients list on the package, ahead of the nutritional information.

Additionally, 54% of consumers look for more natural products.

“In our survey about breakfast habits, we see most people (58%) pay attention to the amount of sugar in their breakfast products,”​ said Gerzon.

“Breakfast is generally considered a traditional meal and one that doesn’t change that quickly or often for individuals. So, we were surprised to learn that a large majority (88%) of consumers are open to trying new products, potentially indicating that they are looking for something more at breakfast,”​ said Gerzon.

Top reasons for trying new breakfast products

HealthierMore flavorsMore fillingMore convenient

“We believe the innovation opportunities for food manufacturers in the breakfast space lie in these four areas,”​ said Gerzon.

“Part two of our report, to be published later this month, details the consumer profiles for food manufacturers to watch. We have seen that people who are most keen on convenience are also slightly more likely than the average to look for healthier products.”

DSM’s survey was conducted in October 2017 among 3,500 consumers situated in the US, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and France.

Royal DSM is a €10bn ($12.34bn) science-based company employing 25,000 people to produce food and dietary supplements.

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