Foods such as quinoa and avocado, which haven’t been considered breakfast foods, are moving into the morning day part.


Beyond the day part

Thanks to initiatives such as McDonald’s introduction of the “breakfast all day” menu concept, breakfast has taken on far more meaning than a day part. It’s an occasion that can be experienced at any time of day.

As snackification morphs one meal into the next and creates crossbreed meal occasions, breakfast foods are becoming more and more recognizable in any part of the day. No longer is a brioche bun the only upscale addition to a burger on a food service menu; now it’s topped with an egg.

According to the NPD Group, breakfast occasions, both in and out of the home, are projected to grow by 5% through 2019, actually outpacing the population growth. And Technomic’s Breakfast Consumer Trend Report indicated that in 2015, 54% of consumers said that they enjoy eating breakfast at nontraditional times, up from 48% in 2013.

“Fortunately, the J. Skinner product line has always been consumed during most day parts, and these opportunities occur around the clock with consumers snacking more than ever,” Mr. Kyle said. “Snack represents about half of all eating occasions, and our cinnamon rolls and batter cakes fit right in with that.”

Mini Danish from J. Skinner may be consumed on the go.

Technomic’s report also said that 32% of participants indicated they will purchase breakfast food as a mid­morning snack; 45% will purchase at lunch, and 59% will purchase a breakfast food at dinner time.

Although restaurants like First Watch only keep business hours for breakfast, lunch and brunch, they’re most likely driving menu innovation at dinner establishments and in homes.

“The breakfast day part might not be gaining as much steam, but we’re now seeing tons of restaurants putting breakfast items on their menus at night,” Mr. Schaibly said. “For us, it’s more about the freedom to think outside the box and do cool, exciting things.”

And while items like donuts, waffles, pancakes and eggs are carving out space later in the day, other foods such as quinoa and avocado, which haven’t been considered breakfast foods, are moving into the morning day part.

So, what does the future hold for breakfast foods?

“It’s clear by the strong growth in breakfast that there’s an opportunity for food manufacturers, operators and retailers,” said David Portalatin, vice-president and food industry analyst, NPD. “The best way to tap breakfast and morning snack opportunities is to first understand what the consumers’ motivations, needs and wants are based on demographics, life stage and situation and let this knowledge guide your decision-making.”

In other words, there’s no crystal ball for the future of breakfast; consumers change the game too often and too quickly for that. But if bakers, snack makers and food service operators can stay in touch with consumers and collaborate with other categories and day parts, breakfast can still be the most important — if not the most profitable — meal of the day.