Breakfast tends to be the most polarizing meal of the day, according to “Breakfast: Convenient Childhood Staples Get a Nutritional Adult Makeover,” an August 2018 report from the Packaged Facts division of Rockville, Md.-based Some people can’t miss breakfast, while others rarely eat it. And those who fall into the latter category are more likely to be young adults without children.

“With most ‘breakfast believers’ being either baby boomers or families with children, companies are producing new products in an attempt to expand the market by getting younger adults hooked on breakfast foods,” Packaged Facts said. “Some of the more successful innovations are products that combine aspects of popular breakfast foods for kids and adults into one.”

The company pointed to opportunity in drinkable yogurts that combine the nostalgia young adults might have for brands such as Danimals with aspects that appeal to their more grownup taste buds, nutritional interests and busy schedules.

“There is much room for innovation in breakfast foods,” noted David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.


A big opportunity for dairy

And I say that dairy has a major opportunity to be part of that breakfast-food innovation. Moreover, new products in this space don’t necessary have to marry the best parts of child and adult breakfast favorites to be a success with young adults. But they do need to fit in with consumers’ desire for on-the-go convenience, cleaner labels and especially better-for-you formulations.

In fact, as the number of health-conscious consumers grows globally, the preference for breakfast actually is increasing, according to “Breakfast Food Market — Growth, Trends and Forecast,” a March 2018 report from Mordor Intelligence. Globally, the breakfast food market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% between 2018 and 2023.

A few potential retail ideas for dairy processors:

  • Grab-and-go packs combining a container of refrigerated, ready-to-eat oatmeal (flavored or unflavored) with a ready-to-drink dairy-based smoothie — perfect for the busy health-conscious young adult who wants a convenient, yet more traditional breakfast.
  • Meal-sized (instead of snack-sized) versions of the popular trios of cheese, nuts and fruit — ideal for the protein-craving young adult who leans toward the savory side and is a breakfast nontraditionalist.
  • Single-serve containers of breakfast ice cream (yes, ice cream!) or frozen yogurt boasting a high-protein, low-sugar content; added probiotics; and flavors such as peaches and cream that are reminiscent of foods traditionally served for first meal of the day. The offering would be a potential draw for the young adult who seeks a healthful indulgence.

Those ideas are just a start, of course. And with the foodservice channel (the fast-food channel, in particular) continuing to attract more of consumers’ breakfast dollars, the dairy industry also could work with foodservice customers to create dairy-forward menu items that appeal to young adults.

Dairy checkoff scientists did just that earlier this year when they helped McDonald’s launch three dairy-containing coffee offerings. The scientists work for Rosemont, Ill.-based Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff.

Launched in April for a limited time only, the McCafé Turtle beverages were billed as seasonal, café-quality drinks. Varieties included Iced Turtle Macchiato, Turtle Macchiato and Iced Turtle Coffee. In addition to premium coffee and whole milk, non-fat milk or cream, the drinks featured rich ingredients such as chocolate and hazelnut.