How can Britain’s bakers capitalise on the growing demand for grab-and-go breakfast products?

Breakfast is already big business and is getting bigger as consumers increasingly seek products they can eat on the go at various times of day.

With the sit-down breakfast falling out of fashion, consumers are grazing on snacks, according to Euromonitor study How We Eat: The Changing Face of Global Mealtimes. “There is less formality about what foods are eaten when, with breakfast eaten throughout the day,” it claims.

Research commissioned by packaging business Huhtamaki has shown breakfast is one of the top food-to-go occasions, and bakery one of the most popular options.

US-style muffins – topped and filled with fruit, nuts and seed toppings – can tap demand for healthier breakfast bakes, according to Dawn Foods. “As well as indulgent breakfast/brunch products we’re seeing an increase in ‘better for you’ options,” says Dawn marketing manager Jacqui Passmore.

Muffins are a must-have morning product, suggests CSM Bakery Solutions, appealing to busy commuters who want something quick to eat, as well as a wide demographic range, including families.

“It’s important for muffins to look visually appealing and, without the elaborate decoration seen in cupcakes, they need to have a good colour, cracked top and plenty of fillings and toppings,” adds CSM product marketing director Isabel Sousa.

Viennoiserie continues to be a mainstay of breakfast, with supermarket sales of croissants and pains au chocolat both rising (see Kantar Worldpanel table below).

“Outlets should capitalise on this trend by offering pastries in takeaway packaging at peak times to make it easier for customers to make an impulse purchase,” says Lantmännen Unibake assistant brand manager Samantha Winsor.

It’s a view echoed by Brioche Pasquier, which says individual wrapped products can reduce waste and ensure freshness.

“Each of our pains au chocolat comes wrapped in a clear packet which can be popped into a bag or pocket to transport safely and hygienically,” says foodservice sales manager Jon Turonnet.

On-the-go has influenced NPD at Bridor, which has developed pastries with fillings such as Cocoa & Hazelnut and Apricot.

“In the case of our new filled croissants, grabbing breakfast on the move doesn’t mean compromising on quality and can still be an ultra-indulgent affair,” says Bridor UK commercial director Erwan Inizan.

Bakers should also be looking at the limited selection of longer shelf-life products in the breakfast market, says Carrs Foods managing director Jeremy Gilboy, pointing to a big opportunity for good-quality, longer-life products.

“Current options in the breakfast bakery market include fresh, short-life in-store bakery products and a limited selection of longer-life products, many of which compromise on consumer enjoyment in order to deliver the additional life,” he says.

Winsor points out that frozen products offer outlets added benefits. “Frozen bakery products also allow outlets the freedom to offer a range of quality bakery products, with minimal labour requirements, and without the inconvenience of storing fresh ingredients – it’s all in one frozen box.”

Meanwhile, Aryzta feels bakers should be baking “little and often” to help reduce waste and ensure products are fresh.

“Topping up in small amounts means customers will be able to enjoy baked products all morning,” says Aryzta Food Solutions head of marketing Paul Whitely.

Given the current trends in the market, it is likely they will be enjoyed at other times of day too.

Muffins fulfil early demand

Suppliers say muffins are an essential element in a bakery breakfast line-up, and a CSM study on the category has offered insights into consumer attitudes to the treats:

  • 45% of respondents would purchase a muffin mid-morning
  • 32% liked the idea of a muffin in the morning, but would prefer to see fruit and muesli in it
  • 57% said they would like a muffin filled with chocolate
  • 70% said they would purchase a muffin with a hot beverage

Promote your breakfast offer

A business can have a fantastic breakfast offer, but failure to market it well means sales won’t reach their full potential.

To ensure consumers are aware of your breakfast offer, locate food-to-go offerings near a coffee machine in-store or other impulse products, suggests Carrs Foods.

“Consumers coming into a store for their morning coffee will see your breakfast offering and it may result in an impulse purchase,” says Carrs Foods MD Jeremy Gilboy.

Aryzta Food Solutions says its Seattle’s Best Coffee fixture has been designed to hold morning products and afternoon sweet treats such as cookies and doughnuts.

Lantmännen Unibake UK suggests promoting usage ideas such as ‘this week’s special’ or ‘freshly baked’, as well as cross-category link deals.

Kantar data: Breakfast Bakery retail sales