What are your thoughts on Breakfast? Do you even eat Breakfast, as there’s many people that like to skip the ‘most important’ meal of the day! However what I’m really asking here is if like myself you do like to have something in your belly to help you through the first part of the working day, do you eat something at home or do you set out earlier to get your breakfast treat in a nice restaurant or café?
The reason I ask is because, research from the market information group NPD suggests that us Brits are increasingly grabbing their first meal of the day, out of the house. Many years ago, this would have been unheard of, however with people travelling more these days and having had experiences of eating out for breakfast in cities such as New York and Boston, it was noticed that there was a gap in the breakfast market over this side of the pond and now it’s easier than ever before to get your first meal on the street, whilst on your way to your desk!
“It’s easier than ever before to buy a good breakfast on the High Street,” says Cyril Lavenant from NPD. “There’s more choice in both food and drink, and operators are open much earlier too”, he adds, making it a much better option for time-pressed customers than anything they could prepare at home. In the past it was all about a sausage and egg fry-up, or a quick croissant on the go. Now, most places will offer an assortment of exotically flavoured granola, bircher muesli or porridge with a twist.
But it’s not just that we’re harried and “grabbing a bite on the way to work”. The first meal of the day has also become a social occasion. The Breakfast Club is a trendy cafe that started in 2005 and now has nine restaurants across London and Brighton. At the weekend, there is often a long queue to get a table. Emma Read, from the foodservice consultancy Horizons, also points out that it’s a cheaper way of socialising. Her company’s research shows that throughout the recession the number of people eating out didn’t go down, but that average spending did. She concludes that people have now got into the habit of eating out, and choosing to go out for breakfast is one way of doing that more cheaply. But the growth in the breakfast market is not just about fashionable cafes, upmarket coffee shops and bakery chains. Places like Greggs, Wetherspoon pubs and McDonald’s, as well as hotels, have really upped their game, says Ms Read. “Operators have identified what the consumer wants and are offering it to them,” she says, whether it’s grabbing a porridge on the go or sitting down to eggs benedict.
However, despite the trends, it seems we still can’t stray too far from what the English do best. The nation’s favourite breakfast, the one that’s ordered more than any other, is the one we’re most familiar with: the good old full English of bacon, eggs, beans and toast!