Breakfast sandwiches have booted bacon to make it to the top 10 list of foods Americans eat at breakfast. According to The NPD Group, a leading global information company, breakfast sandwiches are ranked 10th on the list for the first time since 1985 when The NPD Group began tracking it.

“The beauty of the breakfast sandwich is that you can get that 1950’s breakfast of eggs, toast, cheese and meat all in one and you can walk out the door if you want to. That is key because Americans are eating more breakfast meals in their cars than ever before!” says Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD and author of the annual Eating Patterns in America.

“For breakfast we focus so much on coffee, which was always number one, but what has really changed in the America’s eating habits is the breakfast sandwich. When eating out, breakfast sandwiches now rank higher than coffee!” says Balzer.

People are getting their sandwiches on the go, rather than making them at home. For the year ending November, 2012, 46 percent of all breakfasts (excludes morning snacks….just breakfast) ordered at a restaurant include a sandwich. That number includes breakfast sandwiches, 34 percent, breakfast wraps, seven percent and burgers/other sandwiches, four percent. By comparison, 42 percent of all breakfast meals ordered at restaurants include coffee. The importance of the breakfast sandwich continues to grow. It is the fastest growing item at restaurants for breakfast. In 1989, 23 percent of all breakfasts ordered from a restaurant included a breakfast sandwich (this includes traditional sandwiches ordered for breakfast). By comparison, coffee is shrinking as a share of breakfast; 51% of breakfasts purchased at restaurants in 1989 included coffee.

“Sandwiches are now among the most popular foods at all meal occasions…breakfast, lunch and dinner. To understand the American diet, it is important to understand what sandwiches really give us!” says Balzer.