Breakfast is a major focus of the day for British consumers, who spent £1.7bn on breakfast cereal in the past year, according to research company Mintel. And with 87% of adults in the UK eating cold breakfast cereal on at least a daily basis, it estimates the market will grow to £2.2bn by 2014.

Mintel’s latest report on the cereal market shows that for around 6% of adults it is more than purely a breakfast staple it is an easy, quick and nutritious meal substitute that is a regular and core food choice. It’s not just packet cereal that is doing well cereal bars and hot cereal sectors are worth £310m and £103m respectively in the UK. Ready-to-eat cereals make up the biggest proportion of the UK market (76%), with consumers spending £1.3bn on this cereal type in 2008.

While commitment to the cereal packet is evident, the research also reveals that bacon is the nation’s favourite cooked breakfast ingredient, with consumers spending £18 a head in the past year. Eggs are bacon’s nearest rival, with Brits spending £10 a head annually. Meanwhile consumers spend an average of £9 a head on sausages, and £5 a head on canned beans.

Diana Nhan, Mintel’s global market navigator analyst, says: "It’s a positive endorsement that Brits are taking breakfast seriously."