To be sure, there has been long-term, gradual shifts in breakfast eating patterns. Now we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a dramatic change in eating habits, with a shift away from in-home, traditional breakfast choices to on-the-go non-traditional breakfast items.

The recent trends spotlight has been on millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000. They grew up as budding young consumers of breakfast cereals, fast food menu items and soda. But along their pathway to young adulthood, their food preferences and values have rapidly evolved and shifted away from their childhood heritage.

Change in Values Drives New Behaviors

The communication explosion driven by social media fostered a continual online stream of three types of food-related information that have driven the values changes we are witnessing:

  • Nutrition, health and wellness knowledge
  • Immersion in global culture diversity, including exposure to new, authentic global foods, nearby locations where they can be experienced and how to prepare them
  • Acceptance of hybrid cuisines (e.g., Sushirittos [sushi in burritos], peanut butter “pizza”)

Millennials have not only internalized nutrition and wellness values but also, as Marc Halprin, food and beverage guru notes, “hanker for authentic diversity” in the foods they choose to eat.

As Kelsey Lindsey of Food Dive so astutely points out, when millennials make their food choices, “they are considering a range of factors beyond just the taste”. For many, there is a hyper-attention to authenticity, not only in ingredients or on the menu but the eating experience as well.

Down-Trend or Opportunity?

This sea change in food choice values and behavior is not confined to breakfast. The behavior patterns potentially extend to every day-part, every eating situation.

Change of course brings with it potential opportunities to those who willingly embrace it and harness what it represents. RTi can help to provide guidance on the identification of opportunities in the evolving consumer landscape.