Consumers are looking for healthy breakfast foods, according to a recent report from Mintel. In fact, 69% of survey respondents who eat breakfast consider low-cholesterol or heart healthy claims as important when choosing their first meal of the day. In addition, 65% of consumers believe low-fat and high-fiber are significant health-related benefits to consider when choosing breakfast foods.

Consumers often are looking for these healthier items in the traditional breakfast food category with 52% of respondents wanting to see more healthful varieties of waffles, 48% looking for healthier kinds of pancake mixes and 37% looking for healthier sausages.

There is also opportunity in frozen and refrigerated breakfast entrees and meat substitutes. According to Mintel, 53% of respondents would like to see more frozen and refrigerated breakfast entrée options and 32% would like to see more offerings of these types containing meat substitutes.

Consumers also are willing to spend more on prepackaged breakfast foods. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents who eat any breakfast food during the week said they would be willing to spend more on higher quality prepackaged foods, while 41% of consumers would like to see more organic prepackaged products.

Breakfast foods came out unscathed during the recession, experiencing a 20% increase in dollar sales from 2007 to 2011, increasing to $12 billion from $10 billion during that time period. The market is expected to continue to grow nearly 26% from 2012 to 2017 to reach $15.7 billion.

“Eating at home to save money and the convenience of many products in the breakfast category likely aided in its impressive sales growth,” says Carla Dobre-Chastain, food analyst at Mintel. “While price will continue to play an important role when it comes to breakfast foods, Mintel’s research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for higher-quality breakfast products. Therefore, manufacturers and retailers need to strike a balance between price and quality in order to stay at the top of the market.”

While 87% of respondents eat breakfast at home during the week, 30% of consumers eat breakfast at a restaurant during the weekend. Also, 53% of respondents said breakfast foods served at restaurants taste better compared to what is found at the store, and 48% of consumers said they would like to see more restaurant-style options in the grocery store.