Women, people over age 65, blacks and Hispanics are most likely to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, market research firm Packaged Facts revealed in its latest report, Breakfast: Retail Product Trends and Opportunities in the U.S., 2nd Edition. These “breakfast believers” are more likely than average to use all types of breakfast foods, and savvy marketers will leverage this positive sentiment to debut new products as well as justify price premiums for some breakfast food products.

Women with children are likely to pass on to their children the belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Packaged Facts said. Families are a key demographic for food manufacturers, so increasing connections between breakfast products and the core family market — without alienating the childless household — may help companies and brands market their products.

“In 2018, the child population is 74 million strong, accounting for 22% of the total U.S. population,” Packaged Facts said. “With little change in the number of children expected through 2020, industry players must engage kids earlier and retain relationships through the teen years to realize full market potential.”

In addition to families, marketers will need to be mindful of older consumers who also remain loyal to the breakfast daypart. Adults ages 65 and older will represent 16.9% of the U.S. population by 2020, Packaged Facts, said, so industry stakeholders must balance the habits and preferences of this demographic with those of younger consumers for the best opportunities for growth.

Also emerging as a distinguishing characteristic of “breakfast believers” is race and ethnicity, Packaged Facts said, with blacks and Hispanics championing the importance of breakfast.

“With an increasingly diverse population, it’s prudent for breakfast marketers to understand the importance of targeting households across the cultural spectrum,” Packaged Facts said. “The multicultural consumer requires marketers to leverage strategies in order to appeal to respective traditional and cultural values, such as advertising in Spanish to better communicate with Hispanics.”

Finally, demand for better-for-you breakfast offerings shows no signs of abating, and healthy breakfast innovations such as overnight oats, nutrition bars with simple ingredients, functional yogurts and heat-and-eat breakfast sandwiches remain prevalent at retail. However, marketers may need to work harder to unearth consumers’ attitudes toward healthy breakfast when dining out.

“While health trends are evident in food service too, it can be difficult to discern the importance of health to consumers when they dine out — necessitating breakfast menus feature items that play to indulgence and health independently," Packaged Facts said. "Industry players are doing their part in addressing health trends through new product development of better-for-you breakfast, but there's clearly room for more players to find a seat at this table.”