Retail Foodservice

It’s Breakfast All Day for Homebound Consumers

Poll finds people are eating breakfast foods more often during the pandemic
Photograph: Shutterstock

Consumers are eating more breakfast foods than usual—and all day, for that matter—during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent nationwide survey of more than 2,000 adults by The Harris Poll and General Mills Foodservice, which offers tips for foodservice operators to enhance their breakfast offerings.

Nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) report eating more breakfast foods during the pandemic, and nearly 4 in 5 (79%) have eaten breakfast foods outside of the traditional daypart in the past year, the survey found. Breakfast foods for dinner is most popular with consumers, at 59%, followed by lunch (49%), as a snack (39%) and for dessert (20%).

Reasons for this change in eating habits include having more freedom in what and when they eat (52%), craving their favorite breakfast foods (37%) and wanting to eat something that brings them joy (33%).

“Consumers’ love of breakfast is strong, giving chefs and foodservice operations the chance to reimagine breakfast,” said Mark Harmon, who analyzes consumer insights for Minneapolis-based General Mills Foodservice.

The company shares several tips for foodservice operations to appeal to these changing eating habits, while showcasing breakfast as a profit driver across dayparts:

  • Serve breakfast all-day with a special menu of morning favorites or a signature breakfast item of the day.
  • Offer menu items with a breakfast flair (a grilled cheese doughnut), or give traditional breakfast foods a new twist (biscuit avocado toast, cinnamon roll waffles). More than half (66%) of consumers said they love creative twists on breakfast menu items, according to the survey.
  • Introduce a menu of dessert items, or “bresserts,” made from familiar breakfast items (cinnamon roll cobbler, strawberry scone shortcake, ice cream waffle sandwiches, birthday cake pancakes).
  • Offer “take and bake” options for breakfast foods (tray of cinnamon rolls or muffins, a breakfast casserole to-go).
  • Bundle breakfast foods together for a family brunch meal kit (biscuits and gravy, pancakes with sausage or bacon and fresh fruit, breakfast sandwiches with yogurt parfaits).

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