Consumer Corner: Breakfast Trends in Canada

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 Introduction | The fastest growing breakfast Items (in home) | Skipped breakfast | Information source

Eating breakfast in the morning is driven by four Hs
Health, Habit, Hunger and Hurry

According to the 2008 "NPD Eating Patterns in Canada Report" health is the driving factor in choosing breakfast foods. Consumers are not spending more time to meet their health goal, in fact they are looking for more shortcuts through value-added and enriched foods.

The presence of whole grain, omega-3 fatty acids or added vitamins has a much larger audience at breakfast than it does at any other time of day.  This trend is expected to continue as more consumers look to the one food they eat for breakfast to satisfy their requirement of the four Hs - health, habit, hunger and hurry.

Quick is the key in the morning and today’s consumers continue to want faster and healthier solutions for breakfast.

As consumers strive to eat healthier faster in the morning, they are seeking out value-added inclusions.

Top 10 label claims on foods and beverages consumed at breakfast
(based on % share of in-home breakfast meal occasions)
Low fat Whole grain
All naturalLow fat
Caffeine free/decaffeinatedLight/lite/diet
Low sugar/sugar free Vitamins added
Fat free/non-fatFat free/non-fat
Cholesterol freeTrans fat free
Low cholesterolCaffeine free/decaffeinated
No salt/salt freeLow sugar/sugar free
Light/Lite/DietCalcium enriched
Low Salt/Low SodiumOmega 3

The Fastest Growing Breakfast Items (in home)

The fastest growing items for in-home breakfast indicate that kid friendly foods are strengthening, particularly foods that come in quick and easy to prepare formats.

The fastest growing in home breakfast items are: (based on % of individual which ate this items in seven day period)
  1. Toast
  2. Waffles
  3. Egg/Omelettes
  4. Non-toasted bread
  5. Ready to eat cereal
  6. French toast
  7. Yoghurt
  8. Pancakes
Skipped Breakfasts

Skipped breakfasts are at an all time low. At the same time morning snacking is going up.  This could suggest that consumers are eating more frequently in the morning, creating more opportunities for manufacturers to capture some of these occasions.

In 2008, the average Canadian skipped breakfast about 35 times per year compared to 42 times per year in 2005.

In 2008, Canadians ate 82 morning snacks/year compared to 64 morning snacks/year in 2005.

The breakfast eaters are the driving force behind the growth of morning snacks. This is an indication that it may be easier to market to consumers that already eat something in the morning.

Teens (age 13-17) are most likely to skip breakfast. About  44 % of teens in 2008 skipped breakfast at least once.

Did you know?

The average Canadian consumed 306 breakfast meal occasions in 2008. This has been relatively stable since 2005.

Most breakfasts (84% percent) are prepared within five minutes or less.

Ready-to-eat cereals were the most popular in-home breakfast food in 2008. In 2008, 53% of individuals ate ready to eat cereal at least once an average week.

Canadians aged 55+ are eating more breakfasts in restaurants. Bacon/sausage and eggs are the favourite with this age group in restaurant, but breakfast sandwiches are growing the fastest. These consumers are treating themselves to breakfast items that are high in taste and more difficult to cook at home.

Information source

The information in the NPD Eating Patterns in Canada Report is based on four different NPD Group services.
  • National Eating Trends (NET) tracks consumption behaviour relating to retail and restaurants.
  • HealthTrack survey adds an attitudinal component and health/diet status to the NET database.
  • SnackTrack tracks the consumption and sourcing of snack foods by individuals.
  • CREST collects information about purchases of prepared foods and beverages at restaurants.
Consumer Corner - Breakfast Trends in Canada in pdf version

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Jeewani Fernando.
This document is maintained by Erminia Guercio.
This information published to the web on July 30, 2009.
Last Reviewed/Revised on December 7, 2017.