Almost one in four have changed breakfast for health reasons, new Bord Bia research reveals

Bord Bia's 'Breakfast Club' report examines consumers' attitudes to breakfast, and finds many are seeking 'permissible pleasures'



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19 April 2016

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A new Bord Bia study reveals Irish consumers still believe in the importance of breakfast, with almost nine in 10 (87%) Irish people eating breakfast every day. This figure rises slightly (to 89%) at the weekends.

 “It seems the assertion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day still rings true in Ireland despite our busier lifestyles,” said Paula Donoghue, Bord Bia’s consumer insight manager.

Health is the most important consideration for people at breakfast time, according to the ‘Breakfast Club’ report, with almost one in four (23%) people recently changing their breakfast choices for health reasons. For instance, some 44% claim to be cutting back on sugar, while 13% of people are trying to reduce their carbohydrate intake.

While we are now making more time for breakfast, we are also multi-tasking as two in five Irish adults (41%) check emails and social media while eating breakfast. Over 20% of people use the time to also take daily vitamins, while watching TV, finishing household chores and getting the kids ready also feature highly.

Recommendations for food and drink industry

According to the study, Irish consumers are looking for breakfast options that are healthy, low cost and easy to prepare.

“People are looking for ‘permissible pleasures’ that make it easier for them to cut down on certain foods such as a healthier variant of their favourites such as turkey rashers instead of traditional pork rashers,” said Donoghue.

“We also found many parents in our breakfast club were concerned about the level of sugar and salt in their kids’ preferred cereals but were stuck between giving them what is best and what they will eat. Many claim that they would like to see more low sugar and salt options which would ease their concerns and still be attractive to children,” she added.

The report also found the rise of the al desko breakfast is becoming more prominent with many people facing longer commutes to work. Some are preparing breakfast at home and then eating it in the office while others are finding new and innovative ways to prepare their favourites in the office. There is a strong desire to still keep to a healthy diet, with many turning to protein shakes to keep them on track while current on-the-go options such as cereal bars are being rejected due to high sugar and fat levels.

The Bord Bia study, conducted by RedC research, involved monitoring over 2,700 adults and 800 kids breakfast occasions. To access the research, visit

At a glance: Key research findings

  • Bread and toast tops the survey as Ireland’s favourite midweek breakfast for one-third (33%) of people. This is followed by porridge (25%), cereals (19%), eggs (18%) and fruit (17%) respectively. Tea is the preferred drink at home with nearly half (44%) of people drinking it during the week, while another 28% drink coffee. Water and fruit juice follow behind at 12% and 9% respectively while only 4% of people drink a fruit smoothie they have made themselves.
  • Half of all breakfasts in Ireland are eaten between 8am and 10am. On average, we spend 13.6 minutes on our breakfast during the week and 16.3 minutes at the weekend.
  • Half of us will never miss breakfast while those that that never or rarely eat breakfast are likely to be single and young settlers (aged 21 to 29).
  • Half of Irish people are eating breakfast alone while one in six Irish people are under time pressure and stress while having breakfast.
  • To some extent, it is a predictable eating occasion, as three in four (74%) are certain or pretty sure what we will eat tomorrow. Only 7% of Irish adults vary their breakfast during the week however this jumps to 18% at the weekend.
  • In line with Irish adults, 85% of Irish kids also eat breakfast at home. Cereal was found to be the number one choice for kids followed by toast or bagels and porridge. Parent’s choose their kids’ breakfast items as “they know the children will eat it” and “to get something into them”.



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