America's Love for Breakfast is Booming

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Breakfast’s long-held status as the most-important meal of the day has come into question in recent years, with studies suggesting the morning meal may not be as essential as it’s cracked up to be. Yet that doesn’t seem to be diminishing Americans’ commitment to it. Quite the contrary, in fact.

U.S. consumers are embracing their a.m. comestibles with growing enthusiasm, a new report from the NPD Group indicates. The market research and analysis firm forecasts that the consumption of breakfasts and morning snacks, at home or away from it, is forecast to grow by 5 percent through 2019. That’s more than the anticipated growth of the U.S. population — 4 percent — over the same period of time.

That predicted growth would be a continuation of an existing trend: “Annual morning snack occasions per person, in- and away-from-home, have increased by 17 percent over the past six years,” according to NPD data.

What’s driving the trend? NPD suggests that the convenience and economics of fast-food breakfasts — and restaurants’ emphasis on them — may be playing a role, noting that breakfast-time visits to “quick service restaurants” ticked up 5 percent in the year that ended in February 2016, following a 3 percent increase the previous year. Consumers are gobbling not only breakfast sandwiches but also foods like yogurt and cereal bars, which are likewise easily grabbed on the go.

For breakfasts eaten at home, which account for 70 percent of our morning meals overall, NPD says that people, especially young adults, are tucking into “more involved breakfast foods,” like eggs, and eating healthier snack foods, including fruit, yogurt and granola bars.

Overall, the firm notes, “The average annual number of breakfast occasions per person in 2015 was 361, up 11 occasions per person from 2010.”

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