Breakfast is so big at the new Essentials of West Meon store in Hampshire that sales are catching up with lunch. Manager Lucy Jordan says that from a hot food perspective, sales are definitely bigger at breakfast than lunch.

You can see why when you realise that shoppers are guaranteed a ’Full English’ or any variation of one, at any time of day at the store’s The Hut restaurant, which is supplied by Country Choice.

The store opens at 6am and staff get cooking straight away. "The breakfasts are really quick and easy to do, we can have the whole lot out and ready to go in less than 20 minutes, but other items can be ready in much less time," says Lucy. She has staff in the kitchen until 4pm so breakfast is available all day if people want it. "But even after 4pm we can serve them up things like hot baps."

The Hut has a self-serve hot unit offering the usual breakfast baps, bakes and pastries as well as a more unusual made-to-order unit. This is where consumers get to choose a baguette or bap and different fillings including bacon, sausages, rosti bites, omelette, beans and mushrooms. Prices start at £2.19 for one filling, right up to £3.49 for four as the beans and mushrooms are provided free of charge.

Lucy says ’made-to-order’ is extremely popular: "Customers get to choose exactly what they want, down to individual rashers of bacon if they have their eye on a crispy looking one."

Another good seller is Breakfast in a Box. Says Lucy: "When Country Choice first explained this to me, I wasn’t sure but it sells well. It’s literally a fry-up in a box sausages, bacon, omelette and rostis all for £3.99.

"It’s good because not everyone wants bread and it’s really great quality; you’d struggle to get the same value in a café."

Offering such a range of items sounds like hard work, but Lucy says that’s not so. "The support we get from Country Choice is unreal and the food is really easy to serve. I have three members of staff in the kitchen and none of them are trained chefs.

She adds that there’s little waste either. "In the self-serve, products can be on display for two hours and that’s it. With made-to-order, it’s all about getting the timing right but we can top up throughout the day. The theatre of made-to-order is well worth the effort."

Lucy doesn’t really like to stereotype people but it seems when it comes to big breakfasts, well-known stereotypes fit.

"We get a lot of stereotypical ’white van men’ in who love our breakfasts. We get a lot of tradesmen but we also get men in suits. Women buy into our hot breakfast offer too but typically go for smaller items. They like to grab and go rather than have things made to order, so that would be things like sausage and bacon baps."

But other items are big business for the store too. "A lot of women will pick up a cereal bar or flapjack with their coffee or a pain au chocolat."

The store has a 1m display comprising six shelves, that house cereal bars, flapjacks and breakfast biscuits in singles as well as multipacks. Lucy says sales are strong and breakfast biscuits have really caught on. "A lot of people will pick up something for breakfast and a snack for later too."

There’s no doubt that breakfast biscuits have been an unmitigated success. Mondelez International lays claims to creating the category with the launch of Belvita Breakfast in 2010. These are biscuits that are clinically proven to slowly release carbohydrates over four hours to give you energy for the whole morning, when they’re eaten with a piece of fruit, a portion of dairy and a drink. Belvita Breakfast is now worth £57.5m (Nielsen), with the highest repeat rate of any breakfast biscuit, at 58%. The product has also taken the number one spot in healthy biscuits and number four in total biscuits.

Rahul Gursahani, senior brand manager for Belvita Breakfast, says: "The brand has experienced extremely strong value growth of 38% (Kantar data), further supported by our increase in penetration to 25%. This penetration growth is proof that our marketing plans and messages are resonating with our target consumers and the growth we see is therefore driven by bringing even more consumers into the breakfast biscuit market."

Last year Belvita Breakfast was launched in an exclusive format for the convenience channel a 150g pack aimed at top-up shoppers.

These packs, available in milk & cereals and honey & nut flavours, contain three 50g packs of biscuits.

The brand is currently sponsoring all nine of Capital Radio’s breakfast shows, in a bid to reach Capital’s audience of 7.7 million listeners each week.

The deal promotes Belvita Breakfast as a convenient option for rushed mornings. The partnership features a mixture of on-air and online activity, including sponsorship of Capital’s mobile app.

Meanwhile, Weetabix’s On The Go range which includes biscuits, has been boosted with the launch of a breakfast drink. It is said to deliver "quick and easy breakfast fuel" as it has all the energy, fibre and protein of a Weetabix cereal in milk.

Apparently the Weetabix Insight Team spent time with consumers across the UK to understand the "changing nature of breakfast". The team found that one in five adults in the UK skipped breakfast either often or occasionally. Many of them said they’d like a decent breakfast, but were unable to get one ’on the go’. This meant they were forced to compromise on nutrition.

Francesca Davies, marketing manager for Weetabix, says: "We’re delighted at the thought of offering delicious, nutritious portable breakfast solutions that allow consumers, on those days when they don’t have time to sit down with a bowl and spoon, to have breakfast on their terms."

The Weetabix milk shake drink comes in a 250ml single serve, resealable bottle in three flavours: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Rrp is £1.39.

Weetabix expects the breakfast drinks category to be worth £300m by 2015. It will be investing £5m in an advertising and multi-media campaign to promote the new drink, while also continuing to invest in its core cereal brand.

Traditional fare

Porridge is enjoying a massive increase in popularity thanks to its low GI values and the availability of convenient formats.

According to Mintel data, 49% of Brits eat porridge with a quarter of the nation enjoying a bowl every single morning.

Matt Goddard, head of impulse field sales at Pepsico, says: "Porridge continues to become increasingly popular as it fulfils consumer demand for convenient healthier options and value for money. Quaker, the nation’s favourite porridge (Nielsen) has increased production by a quarter this year to keep up with growing consumer demand.

"Two thirds of UK households buy into ’hots’ leaving plenty of headroom for growth in this segment."

He says convenience is one of the biggest trends in breakfast so it is important for retailers to maximise this sales opportunity by focusing on the right range.

According to Nielsen, Quaker has driven 66% of total hot cereal growth in convenience in the past three years but is currently only stocked by one in five independent retailers, meaning they are missing out on this hot sales opportunity.

"Breakfast on the go represents a significant sales opportunity for retailers, with 3.1 billion out-of-home breakfast occasions each year (Kantar).

"This equates to 19% of all breakfast occasions but makes up a significant 43% of breakfast spend, evidence that shoppers are willing to pay more for convenient products," says Goddard.

"The out-of-home breakfast occasion presents retailers with a lucrative sales opportunity and there is still significant opportunity to drive growth."

He believes Quaker has delivered against this trend, by "revolutionising porridge" with its Oat So Simple pots and sachets.

"By combining quick and simple formats with a wide range of flavours, it has brought the goodness of oats to the next generation of consumers."

He adds that retailers can cash in on the top-up shop opportunity by stocking relevant formats to drive mid-week basket spend. "Quaker Oat So Simple 500g bag has had a fantastic response from retailers and is driving penetration in smaller, younger households. The 500g bag is available in a price-marked pack, effectively communicating value to consumers and targeting the 44% of shoppers who are more likely to purchase an item when it’s price marked."

Meanwhile, toast is still popular at breakfast time. According to Kantar usage data, it accounts for two-thirds of bread consumption at breakfast.

Tim Dummer, head of customer marketing for Hovis, says toast was highlighted in research as being ’the perfect breakfast food’ for busy consumers, providing the added emotional benefits of being both warm and satisfying.

"As a brand whose heartland lies in the breakfast occasion we know how vital it is for retailers to get it right.

"Hovis is keen to identify new and inspiring solutions which eliminate the potential of consumers skipping what is widely known as the most important meal of the day. ’Hot and toasty’ breakfasts are the biggest opportunity for bread currently worth £428m to bread and growing (Kantar)."

But it’s not just bread that’s popular, other bakery lines are consumed at breakfast. Warburtons recently ran a campaign to inspire families to try pancakes for breakfast, while activity in Scotland highlighted Warburtons as a leader in the traditional breakfast crumpet market.

Finally, according to Kantar data, over 20% of all yogurts are consumed at breakfast time.

Jon Rodriguez, channel manager for convenience at Yoplait UK, says Weight Watchers yogurts sell well for breakfast consumption, with plain and honey varieties the star performers.

Over at Müller, Corner is the only range in the firm’s portfolio with a dedicated breakfast option Breakfast Corner, which is available in tropical fruit and strawberry flavours.

Müller marketing and R&D director Michael Inpong says: "Many consumers like to enjoy their breakfast yogurt with fruit or granola, and with fruit granola on the side complemented by a generous helping of creamy bio yogurt, Breakfast Corner ticks all the boxes."

Breakfast in brief

Weetabix has a new banana flavour, which is aimed at mums who are looking for a healthy option that will also appeal to their children. It is made with 100% wholegrain to ensure kids are fuelled for the day ahead. The launch is supported by a TV advertising campaign that goes live this month as well as by consumer sampling.
Halo Foods is set to invest over £1m in relaunching the Honey Monster to a new generation of fans. Last year saw the launch of a number of new products within both the Honey Monster and Harvest Cheweee ranges including Honey Monster Wows breakfast cereal, Honey Monster Stix cereal bars and Harvest Cheweee rocky road variety. The 2014 relaunch will see both the Honey Monster and the Harvest Cheweee brands back on British TV.
The latest line from Quaker is Oat So Simple multi-grain which contains two new grains in addition to the traditional wholegrain Quaker oats. It joins recently launched Quaker Heaps of Fruit which, with its combination of porridge and real fruit pieces, has been a great success appealing to younger consumers in particular.

it’s Time for tea

Tetley has launched an innovative kiosk to help forecourt retailers serve tea well.
Dorothy Sieber, Tetley marketing director for out of home, says: "The kiosks increase choice in the takeaway tea market, as consumers can select from a range of up to six different blends. These include options ideal for breakfast such as Tetley black tea, Earl Grey and English breakfast, in addition to non-caffeinated options like Tetley decaf, summer berry and cranberry."
The kiosks offer fresh semi-skimmed milk, sugar and sweeteners, which can be added by customers in the quantities they require. The tea is served in a double-walled takeaway cup to retain heat, with stirrers and sip lids available.
"The combination of an eye-catching and instructional TV screen and bold Tetley branding grabs customers’ attention and delivers the reassurance of enjoying a beverage from the nation’s favourite tea brand (Nielsen)," says Sieber.
She adds that forecourts serving food can boost their profit margins at breakfast by up-selling it alongside food.
"Tetley Tea Academy has teamed up with Lee Maycock, vice chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs, to pair our most popular blends at breakfast time with dishes that enhance the tastes, textures and aromas of the tea.
"At the heart of any early morning menu is a strong, full-bodied Tetley English breakfast tea. Lee suggests pairing this with another classic breakfast item: scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, as it enhances their mellow flavours. Forecourts could serve this in a bap to takeaway.
"For customers looking for a lighter breakfast, fruit blends go well with easily portable food such as a granola muffin or blueberry pancake. Tetley summer berry tea has notes of hibiscus, rosehip, apple and blackberry, which Lee says matches these items perfectly."

The hot one

If you thought Rollover hot dogs were only eaten at lunchtime or later in the day, think again.
Joe Burns, the manager at Ron Perry sites on the A19, says they switch on their Rollover hot dog steamer first thing in the morning because they’ve plenty of consumers who start eating hot dogs at 6am. "People on their way to work or drivers generally love grabbing a hot dog for breakfast. Between 6am and 11am, we sell on average 10-15 hot dogs," he says.
New this month to the Rollover range is the Lincolnshire breakfast sausage a pre-cooked 80% pork sausage with sage, parsley, and thyme.
Rollover sales and marketing director, Tony Owen, reckons it’s the best way for your customers to start their day.
"To help our customers take advantage of the current ’breakfast on the go’ trend, we have added the Lincolnshire breakfast sausage dog to our range. It heats from frozen in our free-on-loan steamer or bain-marie so is ideal as the early morning offer."
It comes supported by POS including a reversible header board and posters.

Hot Tips

To cash in on the ’hots’ segment:
Focus on best sellers and the core range
Increase visibility over the key winter sales period, to drive seasonal sales
If your store has a coffee machine, sell Oats So Simple pots ready to go by adding hot water
Offer consumers a Tropicana Single Serve and Oats So Simple Pot together as a breakfast meal deal, to tap into the on-the-go trend
Use clip strips to site Quaker alongside Tropicana or next to hot drinks.
Where hots are performing well, complement best sellers with new flavours and formats of Quaker
Source: Pepsico