With 24% of UK adults buying breakfast-to-go at least once a week, and each of them picking up two or three items on average (him! data), it would be foolish to ignore this huge sales opportunity. Retailers serving bacon baps and hot sausage rolls are cashing in, but not every consumer wants something hot or wants to risk a greasy stain on their work clothes. You don’t need to offer hot food to capitalise on breakfast sales, indeed some of the biggest growth is coming from ambient lines such as porridge pots and cereal bars.

Matt Goddard, head of impulse field sales at PepsiCo, advises forecourts to offer a Tropicana single-serve bottle and Oats So Simple pot together as a breakfast meal deal, to tap into the on-the-go trend. And he says you should use clip strips to site Quaker alongside Tropicana or next to hot drinks.

He recommends forecourts stock Quaker Oat So Simple pots 57g (original and golden syrup); Quaker Oat So Simple sachets; and Tropicana 330ml original and smooth."Products that are quick and easy to prepare are among the top four motivations for breakfast choice (Kantar data) making it important for retailers to maximise this sales opportunity by focusing on the right range of convenient products," he says, adding: "Breakfast on the go represents a significant sales opportunity for retailers, with 104.7 million out-of-home breakfast occasions. Quaker has delivered against this trend with its range of Oat So Simple pots and sachets. The pots format, launched in 2011, has delivered 37% of hot cereals growth in the past three years (Nielsen) and has attracted younger, more affluent consumers to the category."

Obviously Quaker is not the only brand to offer porridge pots.

Kellogg’s has them available in five flavours original, red berries, honey & almond, blueberry & cranberry and apple & cinnamon. Kellogg’s also offers ’cereal in a cup’ in its best-selling lines: Corn Flakes, Crunchy Nut, Krave, Special K and Rice Krispies.

Meanwhile, last year Fuel Your 10K Hours added chocolate and honey nut & raisin to its porridge pot range.

Each is packed with 10g of protein so provides energy for active, busy lifestyles. And Moma!, known for its bircher muesli and porridge, has recently launched a Smooth Oatie Shake which, with its fruit, oats and yogurt, is said to be a meal in itself. It comes in two flavours: mango & peach and strawberry & banana, in 330ml Tetra Paks. Roadchef started stocking the shakes last November.

Praising the bar

Cereal bars make for a convenient breakfast and with Nature Valley, consumers can pick up a single bar for when they’re on the move or purchase a multipack to keep in the workplace.

The brand’s offering includes variants such as oats & honey and the increasingly popular Granola range, which is seen as an on-trend breakfast pick-me-up treat.

Nature Valley’s keen to be ’on-trend’, which is why it has recently launched bars with seeds and protein.

A Mintel report on Breakfast Eating Habits, published last year, stated that "While no functional claims relating to protein have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority, more than three in five (63%) consumers say that protein helps to keep them fuller for longer, suggesting scope for protein-rich foods to benefit from more effectively highlighting their protein content on-pack."

Nature Valley has done that with its Protein range, which it says fills a current untapped gap in the market for a mainstream cereal bar range with the added benefit of protein.

There are two variants: peanut & chocolate, and peanut, pumpkin & sunflower seeds; and each bar contains 15% (8g) of daily protein needs and 30% less sugar than the average adult cereal bars sold in the UK.

Nature Valley marketing manager, Paul White, says: "We know shoppers are actively looking for nutritious breakfast snacks that also taste great. Innovation is crucial to driving growth in the category and our strategy is to continue to deliver exciting, unique products which really answer consumers’ needs."

Another recent addition to the range is Nature Valley Crunchy with pumpkin & poppy seeds, which White says offers consumers a simple way of getting seeds into their diet.

White says: "Seeds are becoming increasingly popular so this is an important addition to our portfolio. This new cereal bar allows retailers to tap into the trend and drive interest back into the healthier biscuits category with a tasty new breakfast treat."

Lack of time

Then there are breakfast biscuits, a category created by Mondelez International with its Belvita range back in 2010. The Belvita concept was founded on the insight that one in three people in the UK skip breakfast during the working week with the main reason for this being lack of time.

Mondelez International trade communications manager, Susan Nash, explains: "The Belvita range meets the needs of shoppers who are looking for an innovative and healthy breakfast product to suit their busy lifestyles.

"Belvita breakfast biscuits are specially designed for for breakfast, and are scientifically proven to slowly release carbohydrates over four hours to give consumers energy for the whole morning, when eaten alongside a piece of fruit, a portion of dairy and a drink."

That aforementioned Mintel report said that around a third of breakfast eaters rate breakfast foods that keep them fuller for longer as a factor influencing choice, which is where Belvita scores with consumers.

Indeed the brand is now worth £61.8m. It holds a 75% share of the breakfast biscuit market (Nielsen) and has a high repeat sales rate of 58% (Kantar).

Nash reports that Belvita has also taken the number one spot in healthy biscuits, which she says is a significant achievement given the competition in the market from both breakfast biscuits and everyday healthy biscuits. Belvita Breakfast comes in single 50g portion packs, in strawberry duo crunch and honey & nut variants.

Also available exclusively for the convenience channel is a 150g pack aimed at top-up shoppers. These boxes contain three 50g packs of milk & cereals or honey & nut biscuits.

And, at the end of last year, came Belvita Tops biscuits made with wholegrain cereals, with either a choco hazelnut or strawberry topping.

"As well as being delicious and nutritious, they offer a new option within breakfast to satisfy a wider variety of consumer needs. These new additions will aim to drive incremental sales and attract new consumers to the market by offering a different taste and texture experience," says Nash.

And you can expect Belvita to be front of mind with shoppers as this year it’s supported by an £8m marketing investment.

Finally, in its report, Mintel says the predicted rise in the number of 23-34-year olds in the UK should continue to drive out-of-home breakfast sales as 75% of this age group eat breakfast away from home, which is much higher than the 55% average across all consumers.