Category guide: Breakfast

Whether your customers are caterers or retailers, breakfast is on the move, writes Lindsay Sharman.

With more than 1bn breakfast occasions in the UK every year, it is a huge opportunity for wholesalers and their customers.

Lifestyle changes and new products have driven a shift in the market toward on-the-go consumption. Whether it’s a takeaway coffee or breakfast biscuit, consumers are choosing to eat breakfast out of home more often. And with customers in both retail and catering, wholesalers are in a strong position when it comes to tapping into the trend.

Six ways to grow sales
  • Group together: Organise your breakfast fixture by shopper need, category and brand.
  • Cross-promote: Target more food-to-go shoppers by cross merchandising breakfast products.
  • On a mission: Site products that are often commonly bought products together to drive cross-purchase sales and increase basket spend, fruit juice near cereal bars for example.
  • Good to talk: Share category insights with your customers to encourage a purchase and suggest ways to help increase product sales.
  • Eye Catching: Communicate messages via effective point of sale material, such as serving suggestion ideas and key selling points of the products.
  • On trend: Keep up with consumer demand for new products, such as healthier food-to-go.

“Breakfast on-the-go is a major growth opportunity and particularly key for the impulse retail and foodservice channels as time-poor consumers seek ‘grab-and-go’, quick, convenience breakfast solutions,” says Richard Jones, marketing manager from Mornflake Cereals.

To maximise what is an already lucrative area, there are a number of strategies wholesalers can employ. Point of sale (PoS) that signposts breakfast and cross-category promotions that encourage customers to try something new are both good options for driving sales in depot. Eye-catching PoS material is available from suppliers to help get the message across.

“It’s a well-known fact that people eat with their eyes so it’s important for wholesalers to increase sales by displaying appetising food images and PoS materials. To support them, we have created posters and tent cards, along with templates that caterers can download and adapt,” says Mohammed Essa, general manager for Aviko, UK and Ireland.

Encouraging retail customers to cross-promote and dual site is one thing, but actively demonstrating how to do it in demo is another. Engage your customers by leading by example and sales of breakfast products can be further increased.

“Dual siting of products, awareness and cross-promotions are important considerations if wholesalers and independent retailers are to grow breakfast sales. Wholesalers should demonstrate in depot which products should be merchandised together, how it should be displayed and the breakfast meal deal cross-promotions retailers can offer,” says James Logan, commercial director at Refresco Gerber.

“Bulk quantities should be offered in cross-promotions to retailers to facilitate sell-through,” he says.

Busy lives: Breakfast appeals to every customer 

Whatever the size of your retailer customer’s store, offering breakfast products that can be consumed on the go is a great way to cash in on their shoppers’ busy lifestyles. And there are many different ways to go about it.

Firstly, stocking products that can be consumed right away is essential and doesn’t have to take up much additional shelf space. Cereal bars, such as Kellogg’s Nutrigrain or Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, are great for breakfast on the go.

Secondly, products that are quick and easy to prepare either in the home or in the office can also capture some of these sales. Quaker’s Oats So Simple for example comes in individual sachets that can be prepared in the microwave or on the hob making it a popular choice. 

“Porridge continues to become increasingly popular as it fulfils consumer demand for convenience healthier options and value for money,” says Matt Goddard, head of impulse field sales at PepsiCo.

For retailers with more space available, having a fresh bakery section is a fantastic way to grow sales on breakfast products. Manufacturers such as Cuisine de France make a selection of hot pastries that shoppers can buy and eat immediately.

Similarly, encouraging retail customers to have a coffee machine in the premises enables them to offer freshly made hot drinks that can give shoppers an immediate take-away option in the morning. One Lifestyle Express retailer in Birmingham has dedicated an entire fixture to breakfast on-the-go, placed strategically near the entrance of his store, offering passers by the temptation of coffee and a breakfast bar on the way to the office. Store manager Mr Singh says “We’re right outside a bus stop so we sell a lot of coffee in the winter when people are standing around, trying to keep warm.” 

Offer a broad range: Know the varying needs of your customers 

Knowing your customers and understand their needs is another way to grow breakfast on-the-go sales. Ian Harris, category strategy manager from Lantmännen Unibake UK says frozen products are ideal for a variety of customers.

 “Wholesalers should adapt to the demands of their consumers by providing a broad breakfast range to cater for varied customer trends. By offering frozen products to caterers, wastage is minimised as bakery products can be baked throughout the morning in line with demand,” he says.

Suppliers are keen to support wholesalers to cash in on the trend for on the go and many have launched products specific to that part of the market. Wall’s has launched a range of microwavable breakfast snacks that are make it easy for both caterers and retailers to offer something hot. The ‘Ready to Eat’ range includes a ‘Sausage Bap’ and a ‘Breakfast Muffin’.

“Research found that shoppers would like a better range of bacon and sausage rolls in store so we have catered for this demand with product innovation. The ‘Ready to Eat’ range allows shoppers to grab and heat the products at work, school or home, offering a convenient and easy breakfast option,” says Richard Tyler, customer marketing controller at Kerry Foods.

Kerrymaid has launched Kerrymaid Mini Portions, packaged in single portions, which  are spreadable straight from the fridge and packaged into single portions that can be easily slipped into a takeaway bag. Variety packs of cereals, such as Honey Monster, lend themselves well to breakfast on the go. 

Encouraging customers to think outside the box is another way to drive sales of on-the-go breakfast products. Pubs for example, although more traditionally associated with lunchtime foods, can and are extending their opening hours to offer coffee, tea and even breakfast foods in the morning.

“There’s been a 13% year-on-year rise in the out-of-home breakfast market and the rise could be attributed to the sheer spread of outlets cottoning onto the profit opportunity that breakfast represents,” says John Sutcliffe, out of home & convenience controller for Taylors of Harrogate.

“Pubs, for instance, are an example of a sector that has become wise to the consumer demand for breakfast out-of-home.”

Superior tastes: Keep on top of trends – coffee and healthy options  

Breakfast includes a several  core convenience categories, which means there are a number of trends to take into consideration too. For starters, hot drinks such as tea and coffee are staple breakfast products, but coffee in particular has much more to offer than ever before with a variety of new products trying to achieve a taste closer to coffee shop coffee such as wholebean instant. “We have seen the UK evolve into a nation of coffee connoisseurs with increasingly sophisticated tastes and expectations,” says Ian McDonald, commercial manager at Nepresso UK.

Stocking newer coffee products in addition to the traditional instant varieties will enable retail customers to offer not only something different but at a range of price points.

Convenience is another key trend as customers seek out products they can consume both in and out of the home, as well as on the go. Quaker’s Oat So Simple pots and sachets for example
offer shoppers a product that is quick and easy to eat anywhere. Healthy eating is also a continual consumer concern that has affected product development and for the breakfast category. Switched on retailers will ensure they have healthier alternatives to popular products. For example, low-fat alternatives to spreads such as Flora Light, bread designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers such as Warburtons Half & Half and Kingsmill 50/50, or caffeine-free tea, such as PG Tips decaf.

Value and price marking: Focus on promotions 

Making sure breakfast reaches its full potential also means turning your attention to how you and your customers promote the products you sell. 

Value continues to sales drives in convenience retail and price-marked packs are a tried and tested way of offering it. Nutella from Ferrero has a £1.99 price-marked 400g jar available and Levi Boorer, customer development director at Ferrero, says 79% of shoppers say it is critical when choosing a price-marked pack in convenience stores that the price flash is big bold and colourful. 

Cross-promotion is an easy and excellent tool for retailers when it comes to breakfast. Often shoppers will want to buy a combination of breakfast products so offering them a meal deal makes good business sense. 

To take it a step further, displaying products together will also help to drive impulse purchase. Creating a secondary display for breakfast for example showcases what products you have on offer – and the kind of value you provide.

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Lindsay Sharman is a former editor of Retail Newsagent, news editor of Retail Express and account manager in public relations for leading food and drink brands. Lindsay loves anything to do with the arts, including mid-century antiques, and cycles everywhere, even in winter


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