Breakfast in America: Opportunities for Engaging Millennials
Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day and tends to be more nutrient-dense when compared to other meals. Some research suggests that compared to skipping breakfast, eating breakfast regularly may be associated with helping maintain a healthy weight and may positively impact academic and cognitive performance. Despite the potential benefits, trends suggest that a significant number of Americans skip breakfast and skipping tends to be more prevalent in Millennials compared to other age groups. Data from the NPD Group reported that 28% of males and 18% of females ages 18-34 skip breakfast. One of the primary reasons that Millennials skip breakfast is lack of time in the morning to prepare and eat breakfast.
Retail sales of foods that were once perennial breakfast favorites have declined. Based on data from IRI Unify, retail sales of cold breakfast cereals have fallen steadily over the past four years with milk and breakfast meats also on downward trends, while sales of yogurt and frozen breakfast foods have trended upward during the same time period. Nielsen data also shows that the sales of smaller containers of not-from-concentrate orange juice (less than 50 ounces), including single-serve sizes, have jumped since 2014 with more retailers carrying these smaller sizes. Collectively, these trends likely speak to the portability of these foods as quick and easy breakfast options.
Millennials have a unique set of characteristics and needs that retailers must recognize, understand, and meet in order to bring them into store. Providing solutions to allow Millennials to fit breakfast into their busy and on-the-go schedules provides an excellent opportunity for retailers, especially retail dietitians, to engage with this important demographic.
Provide quick and easy breakfast solutions while appealing to Millennials’ need for something new and different. Reach out to Millennials through food demos and store tours to help them easily locate and prepare healthy, quick, and easy breakfast foods and meals. Provide options to allow for customization or for those who might be on special diets (e.g., gluten-free). Include store displays of new and exciting breakfast recipes. Millennials tend to snack more than other demographic groups and may combine meals, so consider promoting breakfast foods for other meals or snacks.
Leverage social and online media. If you already reach out to Millennials via social or other online channels, include breakfast messaging as part of your dialogue. Consider producing and posting videos of store demos, tours, or tips about how to fit a healthy breakfast into a busy morning.
Earn their trust. Meet and engage with Millennials where they are, including college campuses, sporting events, or other organizational and community events. Keep up to date on new food trends and how they can be incorporated into breakfast in new and unique ways.
Consider in-store prepared foods. Millennials are gravitating to retailers for fresh and high-quality prepared foods, so seize this opportunity by offering portable handheld fresh breakfast items such as breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and yogurt parfaits. Have other key breakfast items such as coffee and 100% fruit juice nearby to facilitate the grab-and-go experience.