Consumers Increasingly Prefer Fast-​Food Breakfast

In a national consumer poll of 10,000 U.S. consumers on their breakfast eating and food-​buying preferences released by Instantly, an audience and consumer insights platform provider, data indicates that time is a big factor in making decisions about what to eat for the first meal of the day.

National Breakfast Study By Instantly™ Reveals Evolution of American Breakfast Habits

The study explores issues around convenience, fast food and time constraints for what’s traditionally considered the most important meal of the day. Results reveal more than half of Americans do not consistently eat breakfast every day of the week, with 12 percent rarely eating breakfast at all. For those who rarely have breakfast, lack of time is the second most-​selected reason for not doing so, next to not having an appetite in the morning.

According to the study, when time is a constraint, Americans are likely to get something on the go (43 percent) or skip the meal all together (21 percent). When eating on the go, 63 percent of respondents might grab something from home, 45 percent would go to a drive-​thru restaurant and 31 percent might stop at a convenience store or gas station.

When it comes to fast food restaurants, McDonalds dominates preferences. Forty-​four percent of respondents agree that McDonald’s is their “go-​to” for morning eats, compared to Taco Bell (4 percent), Burger King (5 percent) and Jack in the Box (4 percent). While 52 percent of Americans believe fast food menus have become healthier in the last year, 57 percent are still concerned about the nutritional content of fast food breakfast. Yet 72 percent of respondents believe fast food chains should sell breakfast items all day.

In the U.S., with longer work days that break out of the 9–5 model, timing and convenience has become a deciding factor in what many Americans eat in the morning,” said Andy Jolls, chief marketing officer at Instantly. “But that doesn’t mean demand for breakfast foods is low. If companies can provide breakfast in a format that accommodates busy schedules while appealing to taste and nutrition, they could see significant incremental growth.”

When time isn’t a factor, Americans say taste and health benefits are the most important deciding factors in breakfast foods, while portion size and cost are considered the least important factors in deciding on what to eat.

Help your restaurants make the most of breakfast for the Fast Food Lovers audience. According to AudienceSCAN, 10.9% of U.S. adults eat fast food 3–4 times during a typical week. And 4.2% eat it 5 times or more during the week! Focus on fast breakfast options through mobile smartphone app ads or text message ads because this audience is 91% more likely than average to take action based on them. Hitting the air waves while they're driving to work couldn't hurt either: Fast Food Lovers are 96% more likely than average to take action after hearing radio commercials.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.