For anyone looking to grab something for breakfast on their way to work, there’s more choice than ever before. From pots of porridge to warm pastries, from a bacon bap to a protein bar, the range is growing all the time.

Last year, sausage brand Wall’s entered the fray with two new ’heat to eat’ breakfast rolls. The sausage muffin and bacon baguette are just popped into a microwave for a minute and then are ready to eat.

The brand is responding to Nielsen data which shows that the microwave snacking category is valued at £111m and growing at 3%, with sales up even further in impulse outlets (+10.6%); demonstrating demand and opportunity for products like this.

Meanwhile, king of the microwave snack Kepak has added an All Day Breakfast Sausage Muffin to its Rustlers range.

"Last year we conducted our largest ever shopper study and learned that despite not having a breakfast product in our range, breakfast was already an important consumption occasion for the brand," explains Adrian Lawlor, Kepak Convenience Foods’ marketing and business development director.

"We wanted to launch a product concept that was well established in foodservice and would be competitive, from a value-for-money perspective, with the leading players in the sector McDonald’s and Greggs."

Hannah Morter, marketing executive at Country Choice, says research suggests that over half of UK consumers eat breakfast away from home at least twice a month, so a tempting and comprehensive breakfast offer is more important within forecourts than ever before. "For breakfast on-the-go, busying lives mean consumers are looking for convenience, while not compromising on quality. A core range of breakfast baps, turnovers and rolls should be included, but to add more variety retailers should consider breakfast pots and sweet pastries too. Hot breakfast products should be merchandised in a designated hot unit until around 11.30am when a lunchtime range should take its place. Ambient breakfast products can be placed on an existing bakery stand or a specific unit near a coffee machine or till point."

Morter says that ideally both offers should be positioned near a hot beverage machine, with reciprocal pos directing consumers to purchase from both categories to drive sales. "Cross-merchandising is vital to running a successful breakfast offer almost half of consumers purchase a hot drink with a breakfast item and so a clear and enticing link deal is key."

Paul Whitely, head of marketing UK at Aryzta Food Solutions, agrees.

"With many people now skipping the traditional breakfast at home, and with the continued rise of coffee, there’s a key opportunity to implement a link purchase such as a coffee with a croissant or pain au chocolat for example, to maximise the breakfast-to-go occasion."

He adds that research shows that 42% of in-store bakery shoppers buy simply because they’re tempted: "By positioning Aryzta’s range of counter-top and floor-standing units near to a coffee offering retailers can generate additional impulse sales. Our coffee solution Seattle’s Best Coffee has been designed for the convenience retailer. It integrates two stands to hold both AM products and PM sweet treat products such as cookies, muffins and doughnuts, enabling retailers to increase their basket spend and upsell to shoppers while they are waiting for their coffee to pour."

buying with their eyes

"Shoppers buy with their eyes in the first instance, so getting your display right is key to driving sales of in-store bakery products," Whitely continues.

"Insight shows us that one in 20 shoppers are converted by displays, while one in 14 distress top-up shoppers purchase products based on a display they have seen, so there’s an opportunity there to grow basket size with the right layout."

Meanwhile, Morter adds that although new products are important in any category, within breakfast traditional favourites typically still outsell anything new. "Sausage rolls and turnovers, as well as croissants and pain au chocolats, are essential to a breakfast offering and customers are likely to be disappointed if these particular products are not available.

"And while overall demand doesn’t alter much over the course of the year, the product mix that most appeals to consumers does change with the seasons. We see porridge pots and breakfast baps selling better in the winter while viennoiserie sales are greatest in the summer."