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Breakfast opportunities for premium products in a cost-conscious environment?

With cost-of-living crisis and food inflation still impacting on many shoppers' ability and desire to spend, are premium products, such as treating and health, a viable strategy for the Breakfast occasion?

Breakfast remains the least skipped meal of the day, so it offers brands and manufacturers an opportunity to target vast numbers of consumers every day, many of whom are admittedly stuck in a bit of a breakfast rut!

With 68% of consumers eating the same breakfast every day, the challenge for manufacturers and brands is to offer appealing premium benefits over and above the mainstream needs for fibre and/or protein. This may come in the form of nutritional benefits, but also by way of introducing new portion sizes, pack formats and convenience in previously complex breakfast solutions. 58% of consumers say they prioritise speed over other factors, while 40% of consumers with kids call the breakfast occasion outright stressful! So health, convenience and premium should not be thought of as mutually exclusive when thinking of premium opportunities.  

For potential premium opportunities around health, our own research shows that benefits offering improved levels of energy or addressing overall gut health have increased most post-covid. Similarly, of the 20 or so breakfast concepts we tested in our research for Scotland Food & Drink and The Knowledge Bank, the strongest appeal was seen with those products that had clear health benefits to offer. Products such as Meridian Energy Release Peanut Butter clearly tap into the need for sustenance and long lasting energy from the first occasion of the day. While convention still rules the majority, the spread of different benefits consumers look for in their foods is definitely widening.  

Avoidance is also a key driver for consumers, with 40% of consumers avoiding refined sugar, 35% fat and 33%trying to avoid processed foods altogether in their breakfast meals. As such, offering a low/no format can offer some potential for premium NPD. However, it seems to be the case that consumers are less willing to pay a high premium for products that lack something versus when new benefits are on offer. So the potential to go ultra-premium with low/no has its limits as we’ve seen with products that have tried such a strategy with too high a premium versus category average.

Of course an alternate strategy may be one of indulgence, something which has much more resonance during the weekend, but does put retail products in direct competition with foodservice breakfast solutions. The opposite is of course true with Frozen - a practical format for offering foodservice quality at home. This has allowed the likes of Pret to bring their in-store quality into at-home occasions without the need for home delivery services that add a convenience surcharge, but as far as hot food is  concerned, still delivering an inferior product experience versus the on-premise offer. With consumers on the whole perceiving breakfast generally as unexciting, particularly the case with younger consumers, introducing excitement at a price point just below on-premise/foodservice delivery meals should leave sufficient room for an improved margin for both the brand and the retailer.  

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