Breakfast Sandwiches Make Top 10 List for Americans in Morning

Published in CSP Daily News

When eating out, breakfast sandwiches outrank coffee

CHICAGO -- Breakfast sandwiches have made 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. And they knocked bacon off the list.

"The beauty of the breakfast sandwich is that you can get that 1950s 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," said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD, Chicago, and author of the annual Eating Patterns in America report.

"For breakfast, we focus so much on coffee, which was always No. 1, 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," Balzer said.

People are getting their sandwiches on the go, rather than making them at home. For the year ending Nov. 2012, 46% of all breakfasts (excludes morning snacks) ordered at a restaurant include a sandwich. That number includes breakfast sandwiches, 34%; breakfast wraps, 7%; and burgers/other sandwiches, 4%. By comparison, 42% 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% 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," said Balzer.

The NPD Group's National Eating Trends (NET) has been tracking the eating habits of U.S. consumers since 1980. The annual NET sample consists of 2,000 households containing approximately 5,000 individuals. The sample is divided into 52 subsamples, and each week, a group of nearly 60 households begin recording all the foods and beverages consumed by all household members. Each household maintains a daily "eating diary" for two weeks.

The NPD Group's CREST (Consumer Reports on Eating Share Trends) research tracks how consumers use commercial and noncommercial restaurants and foodservice outlets and has tracked consumer purchasing and consumption patterns in commercial restaurants since 1975. CREST accesses a representative sample of the population on a daily basis to ask them what and where they ate yesterday. More than 2,300 consumers complete the CREST survey daily, and of those, about 40% had a meal or snack away-from-home the day before.