There’s a man in a pink dressing gown all over the telly at the moment, hunting down people who’ve missed their breakfasts. He tells them ’Breakfast is served’ in the form of Kelloggs’ Nutri-Grain Breakfast biscuits. But he’s going to be very busy, as research has revealed that one in three people regularly skip breakfast. However, it is Mondelez International that lays claim to creating the breakfast biscuit category in the UK, in 2010 with Belvita aimed at adults who struggle to fit breakfast into their busy lifestyles.

Belvita Breakfast are biscuits specially designed for breakfast. Indeed Mondelez says they are the only breakfast biscuits that are clinically 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.

And according to Nielsen sales figures, Belvita Breakfast has been a huge sales success. It has grown 60% in the past 12 months and is now worth £50m. Reaching the £50m sales mark takes Belvita Breakfast into second position in healthy biscuits and fifth position in total biscuits in the UK (Nielsen).

The latest lines to join the range are a strawberry and yogurt duo crunch variant as well as an exclusive format for the convenience channel a 150g pack aimed at top-up shoppers.

The new pack, available in milk & cereals and honey & nut flavours, contains three 50g packs and is priced at £1.49.

Rahul Gursahani, senior brand manager for Belvita Breakfast, says: "Adding the 150g top-up format to the portfolio means the convenience channel can now benefit from having wider consumer appeal, as they can now capture the attention of shoppers on a top-up mission alongside the instant consumption mission with the 50g retail packs that are already available in the market."

Meanwhile, the pink dressing gown-clad chap is advertising Kellogg’s Nutri- Grain Breakfast Biscuits.

These apparently are designed to provide a "simple solution for those people who like to eat a balanced breakfast on the go".

There are three flavours: cereal & milk, oats & honey and fruit & fibre. Kellogg’s says they contain the goodness of breakfast cereal in a biscuit and have 35% more wholegrain than the leading breakfast biscuits, as well as slow-release carbohydrates to help keep you going until lunchtime. They are also high in fibre and are a source of six B vitamins and iron.

Another breakfast solution from Kellogg’s is the new Nutri-Grain Crunchy Oat Granola bar, which comes in honey and choc chip varieties, with a rrp of 55p for a single pack of two bars.

Weetabix’s breakfast biscuit offer is aptly called Weetabix On The Go Breakfast Biscuits. They boast the famous Weetabix wholegrain fuel credentials but are designed for those mornings when there isn’t time for a bowl of cereal.

They are high in fibre, a source of calcium and fortified with Niacin, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid and Iron. A serving of four biscuits provides all the fibre, vitamins and minerals of two Weetabix.

For forecourt retailers, there are single 50g packs containing four biscuits, in two varieties: milk & cereal and apple with a hint of cinnamon.

McVitie’s too has breakfast biscuits but they are only available so far in the grocery multiples.

Another popular brekkie line is porridge-to-go, and The Phat Food Co’s single-serve, just add boiling water Phat Porridge is now available through Kerry Foods Direct to Store.

The Phat Pasty Co’s, phat controller, Paul Clark, says: "Porridge has seen an amazing rejuvenation as a healthy, nutritious and hot breakfast option, with breakfast pots being simple and easy to serve and a portable offer to just grab and go.

"Many of the large operators have created their own porridge pots, while smaller independents are looking for brands to sell to their customers at a higher price point than the supermarket rrp this was the reason we developed Phat Porridge."

Phat Porridge is made with 100% Scottish oats and just a touch of demerara to give a slightly sweetened flavour. The 65g pot has a small spoon inside the lid, so it’s ideal for customers to simply add boiling water and enjoy straight away or to take away and enjoy later. And, as an ambient product, it has a long shelf life. Recommended retail price is between £1.25 and £1.50.

Phat has developed an eye-catching strut card that sits on the counter to promote sales. In addition, awareness of the product comes from it being available nationally in Travelodge hotels and Little Chef Express locations.

Some like it hot

Stephen Clifford, marketing controller at Country Choice, says breakfast sales are being driven by availability with more retailers offering it than ever before.

"Sales of our breakfast products including sausage baps, bacon baps, sausage rolls and morning goods continue to show good growth. We’ve also seen more retailers introducing a breakfast programme as part of their food-to-go menu."

Country Choice recently made it easier for retailers to offer breakfast items by introducing a ’fully assembled’ breakfast muffin ideal for forecourt retailers who are short of preparation space. Available in two varieties bacon and sausage the products are delivered frozen, ready-assembled and individually wrapped in film that can go in the oven.

Retailers simply defrost overnight and bake in the oven first thing the next day for around 18 minutes, then label and display in a suitable heated cabinet for up to two hours.

Clifford’s advice is to start early: "If retailers can capture trade during the early part of the day, it is likely that they will quickly establish a reputation locally and this will lead to the site becoming a destination at other times during the day."

He suggests that retailers start with a breakfast programme that includes something for everyone baps, sausage rolls, bacon & cheese turnovers for men, and a selection of vienoisserie such as croissants and Danishes, which are more popular with women.

According to Mintel, 20% of consumers have been making more of an effort to eat breakfast at home recently, in order to save money.

"This indicates that value for money is still at the top of the agenda, which is a key consideration for retailers looking to attract morning footfall," says Laura Smith, brand communications manager at Cuisine de France.

"Retailers can promote their breakfast offering by creating linked deals and value-for-money promotions such as a drink with a breakfast treat. In recent research, a third of shoppers said that they would buy a breakfast meal deal if it was available. Operators should therefore ensure that pricing is clear and rounded-off so that consumers know exactly what they are getting and how much it will cost, highlighting value for money."

Clifford adds: "Like much of the grocery sector, our customers have enjoyed considerable success with ’round pound’ deals which simplify and speed up the transaction process.

"This was one of the reasons behind the recent launch of our range of mini ambient savouries which allow retailers to offer three mini savoury rolls or two mini pasties for £1. Round pound deals have also proved successful in relation to meal deals. For example, a retailer might offer a breakfast meal deal incorporating a breakfast bap (rrp £1.89) and coffee (rrp £1.50) at a ’round pound’ price of £3.

Clifford says a good quality bean-to-cup coffee is also essential as about half of all food purchases will be accompanied by a hot drink typically coffee.

"Meal deals and linked promotions have an increasingly important role in the breakfast occasion.

"Many retailers discount their coffee sales if the customer purchases a food item such as a breakfast bap or baguette. Half price coffee with any breakfast bap, filled baguette or croissant would be a typical offer."

Cuisine de France’s breakfast portfolio ranges from morning pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat to a variety of breakfast components such as bacon, sausage and free-range omelettes, which retailers can use with a selection of bread carriers (baguettes, baps and muffins) to make filling breakfast solutions. The range also includes fully prepared products which many people enjoy at breakfast such as bacon & cheese turnovers.

For smaller stores, Cuisine de France’s Wrapped to Go range includes granola bars, which Smith says are an increasingly popular breakfast treat, as well as mid-morning pick-me-ups such as the bakewell cake bar, chocolate brownie and muffins. "This makes it easy for retailers to offer a convenient ’thaw and serve’ option that they can display near till points to help drive breakfast impulse purchases," she says.

Claire Warren, senior marketing manager at Lantmännen Unibake UK, says Viennoiserie is the perfect fit for breakfast time, with 60% of all croissants consumed at this meal occasion (Kantar Worldpanel). "It is also one of the strongest segments in sweet in-store bakery (ISB), with retail sales of ISB croissants growing at 9.4% year-on-year (Nielsen). Operators should capitalise on the breakfast-time opportunity by stocking a range of Viennoiserie best sellers, which are ideal for forecourt customers on the go and also make an ideal accompaniment to takeaway coffee or tea."

Lantmännen Unibake UK’s Bakehouse Viennoiserie range includes the all-butter croissant, pain chocolat, pain raisin, almond and chocolate croissant.

Retailer view

Christian Watts, Lenham Service Station, Kent:
"We have Bake & Bite in our store. We’re open 24 hours a day and staff start baking sausages rolls and turnovers at around 5am and follow those with breakfast baps from 5.30am. We sell sausage, bacon and the full breakfast baps. We get quite a lot of HGV drivers in so they are very popular.
"All staff are trained to use the ovens so there’s never any problems with availability.
"We also sell porridge pots that you just add hot water to. They’re displayed next to the coffee machine so customers have easy access to hot water. We’ve recently started stocking the new breakfast biscuits."