Different strokes for different folks applies when it comes to morning meal food and beverage choices, according to a study conducted by The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD finds that the motivations driving morning food and beverage choices vary by age and gender.

Answering the question “Why did you eat or drink what you did this morning?”, NPD’s Morning MealScape study, reports that men, 18 years and older, are seeking to save money and watch their diet for things they’re trying to avoid, while women of that age cite losing weight most often. The study, which deep dives into the morning meal and snack occasions and marries the attitudinal with behavioral motivations to reveal the “whys” behind morning selections, also finds that for kids under 13 it’s all about having something they like. The same is true for teens but foods that look good have more importance with this age group.

“Food manufacturers interested in connecting their products with consumers in the morning should align product benefits with consumer needs,” says Dori Hickey, director, product development at NPD and author of the Morning MealScape study. “Understanding the why behind food and beverage selections provides the knowledge to message to your consumer targets in a way that resonates with their individual motivations.”

The top one and two most consumed morning meal food choices — cross age and gender — are cold cereal and fruit, respectively, but the choices after these two items vary by age group and gender, according to NPD’s National Eating Trends, which continually tracks all aspects of US consumers’ eating behaviors. Scrambled eggs are next on the list for kids, males, 18 years and older, choose a banana, and females, 18 years and older, opt for hot cereal. Many of the same foods are selected by the gender and age groups but rank differently in terms of most frequently consumed.

“The morning meal is a growing but fragmented meal occasion,” says Hickey. “For food manufacturers and retailers to operate successfully in this meal space, they need to understand the ‘why’ behind consumers’ morning meal behaviors.”