Coke Solutions
Beverage Trends

Sparkling in the Morning with Soft Drinks for Breakfast

Important trends in breakfast away-from-home consumption

Soft drinks at breakfast are not a new phenomenon. These days, more people are enjoying that chilled morning jolt as they increasingly turn to sparkling soft drinks instead of coffee.

The consumption of soft drinks with breakfast outside the home has nearly doubled in the past 15 years, while coffee consumption with breakfast outside the home has fallen more than 15%.¹

Today, breakfast consumers order a soft drink with their breakfast about 15% of the time, compared with about 10% of the time in 2000.¹

What Is Driving This Shift?
It shouldn’t be surprising that consumption of sparkling soft drinks with breakfast has been gaining favor with consumers. Sparkling is the largest beverage category in occasion volume, accounting for one out of every four beverages consumed. About 40% of people over age 16 drink at least one sparkling soft drink per week.²

Morning Is an Important Daypart for Restaurants
The trend toward drinking more sparkling soft drinks with breakfast comes as breakfast is becoming a more important meal for restaurant operators.

Today, breakfast comprises 21.7% of traffic and is growing by 1.4% per year. In the last two years, it was the only daypart to experience traffic growth. Lunch and dinner traffic declined by 0.4% and 0.9%, respectively.¹

Millennials Drive Breakfast Trends
Millennials are shifting their consumption from dinner and lunch to the morning by far the most of any age group. Their breakfast daypart traffic increased by 3.6%.¹ They are more variety-seeking, which means younger guests are drinking other beverages in the morning. Over the last two years, while coffee declined 1.4%, iced tea was up 7.1%, smoothies were up 6.4%, and sparking soft drinks were up 6.2%.¹

How to Capture the Opportunity
Consumers are looking at several different attributes when choosing where to eat breakfast away from home, and they are selecting from an increasing variety of channels that offer breakfast foods. When choosing where to purchase breakfast, the top factors consumers consider are price, food quality, convenience, and variety.

“If operators want to stay relevant, they have to offer innovative, flexible, and portable food and beverage options to drive sales,” says Monica McCoy, senior manager of Channel Planning and Development, Coca-Cola.

Appeal to Convenience
Convenience and portability are especially important factors to millennials, as they spend more time on-the-go and are more spontaneous decision makers when it comes to food and beverage purchases.²

The convenience channel in particular has been attracting millennial consumers. They are by far the largest age group among consumers who visit convenience stores in the morning daypart, comprising 36.4% of traffic. They are also driving the most gains in c-store morning traffic, with a 6.7% increase in the two years through August 2015.  The increase in c-store traffic among this age group outpaced the growth in their visits to burger chains and full-service restaurants, up 4% and 3.2%, respectively.¹

Creating and communicating offerings appealing to the convenience factors can help attract the millennial demographic and address channel-blurring trends. 

Innovate with Breakfast Bundles
Restaurant operators also have the opportunity to capture more traffic and to capitalize on consumers’ increased interest in innovative breakfast foods and beverages by bundling these items in unique combinations. This includes offering sparkling soft drinks as an option for breakfast combo meals.

Sparkling soft drinks are already the most common pairing with all non-breakfast food types. But contrary to popular belief, sparkling is also in the top three pairings for the most popular breakfast foods, including eggs, breakfast sandwiches and donuts/bagels/muffins.¹

Offer Flexibility
Today’s consumers are seeking the flexibility to customize their orders, and that applies to the ability to create various breakfast food and beverage combinations as well, McCoy says.

“Whether it is a biscuit sandwich with a sparkling beverage or a side item and a beverage, flexible options are going to continue to drive overall incidence for operators,” she says.

Offering beverage options for breakfast, including sparkling soft drinks, is becoming increasingly important as breakfast expands to an all-day option. Operators are discovering that offering breakfast items throughout the day is another powerful way to drive incremental sales—a topic that will be explored in more detail in a follow-up article.

Read Related Stories:
Six Top Trends in Foodservice
Evolving Menus and Time-Saving Technology
Time to Rethink the Combo Meal

¹ NPD CREST YE Aug 2015
² Away From Home Beverage Landscape Study, The Coca-Cola Company, 2016

Published: October 04, 2016