U.S. consumers, from ages two and up, fuel themselves for the day with a variety of eating and drinking occasions from the time they awake in the morning until 11 a.m., according to a recently published morning meal study by The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD’s “Morning MealScape 2011” study finds that 43% of these eating and drinking occasions consist of a beverage but no food (e.g. mid-morning coffee), 24% a small/mini meal, 21% a full/complete meal, and 11% a snack.

Just over one in three individuals (38%) limit themselves to one morning eating or drinking occasion while 41% have two or more occasions (e.g. early morning small meal and then a late morning beverage) on a typical morning. The average number of morning drinking or eating occasions per person per day is 1.4, which, based on the population, amounts to an estimated 420 million morning meal occasions per day, or 153 billion occasions per year that include at least one food or beverage, according to the NPD study, which does a deep dive into the situational and attitudinal drivers impacting consumers’ morning food and beverage choices.

“Understanding the number of eating and drinking occasions helps food manufacturers size the morning opportunity,” says Dori Hickey, director, product management at NPD and author of the study. “By developing versatile products and positioning products as both a meal and snack, food companies can meet consumers’ varied morning meal needs and maximize sales volume.”

[Source:  “Morning MealScape 2011.”  The NPD Group.  21 Mar. 2012.  Web.  4 Apr. 2012.]