While breakfast sales have grown steadily for restaurants, retailers and suppliers over the past few years, consumer data shows that the market is not yet saturated and there are still plenty of opportunities within this category. Technomic estimates the breakfast segment accounts for 12 percent of the total restaurant industry, generating around $42 billion in annual sales. Breakfast patronage is up at foodservice locations, particularly fast-food restaurants, where 46 percent of consumers now occasionally purchase weekday breakfasts compared to just 33 percent in 2009.

"Breakfast is a very dynamic segment in which consumers are looking for healthier options and place a premium on convenience," says Technomic EVP Darren Tristano. "Our busy lives and weekly routines drive the need for fast, convenient options in the morning. When consumers don't have convenient options, they're increasingly bringing breakfast from home to eat elsewhere."

To help operators and others aligned with the foodservice industry more effectively identify opportunities for growth and competitive advantage, Technomic has developed the Breakfast Consumer Trend Report.

Consumers generally place greater importance on convenience and speed of service than price for breakfast occasions, indicating that consumers are willing to pay more for a morning meal that saves time and fits their daily routine. About 75 percent of consumers surveyed agree that a convenient location is important when purchasing a breakfast item from a restaurant or other foodservice location during with week.

Coffee is playing an increasingly important role in consumers' breakfast purchasing decision: 33 percent of consumers who drink coffee at breakfast indicate they are loyal to a coffee brand or restaurant that serves their preferred coffee, up from just 25 percent of consumers who said the same in 2009.

Consumers say full-service restaurants excel at providing kids' options, and signal opportunities for full-service restaurant operators to boost breakfast sales through portable breakfast options.

Over the past two years, limited-service restaurants have added more than 230 new breakfast items, illustrating that breakfast remains a growth category for limited-service operators.

Health is a top trend to watch. Beyond lowfat/nonfat ingredients, whole grains and multigrain items are a way to signal health. Oatmeal is booming and will continue to be prevalent on breakfast menus.

Technomic's Breakfast Consumer Trend Report examines preferences, attitudes and purchasing behavior based on survey results from more than 1,500 consumers. The Menu, Marketing and Concept Trends section provides a comprehensive guide to the trends that continue to shape the breakfast category.

Additionally, data from Technomic's 2009 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report is discussed throughout the report to provide a benchmark for key trends. Appendices to this report include detailed concept and menu profiles for 20 emerging and innovative breakfast concepts and demographic profiles of consumers who visit 25 restaurants that offer breakfast.