Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Did you take your breakfast to work today?

One of the things I love about food reporting is the way how we eat tells us many different things. Today's example: Breakfast as an economic indicator.

NPD Group, the market research company, sees the economy getting a little better based on the number of us who take breakfast with us when we leave for work. This one took a little turn along the way, though: "Carried from Home Food" was part of a predicted trend back in late 2007-2008, when NPD was preparing a report called "A Look at the Future of Eating." The report was trying to forecast food trends 10 years in the future, and one of the ones the company saw was foods being prepared and home but eaten somewhere else.

But the economic slowdown of 2008 was just being entrenched as the report was released, and it had an impact on that trend. From a 2008 high of 3.5 billion breakfasts carried from home, it suddenly dipped, to 3.2 billion two years later. What happened? Since fewer people had jobs, fewer people made breakfast and took it with them to a workplace.

Breakfasts consumed and eaten in the home stayed on track, with a slight but steady growth. But breakfasts made at home and eaten elsewhere quickly diverged from the predicted numbers.

In the good news: Since the biggest dip, in 2011, the gap has started closing and hit 3.3 billion in 2013, on a track that is expected to continue growing. NPD Group says that's happening because more people are going to work again.

As to what we're eating, there is a difference in weekday breakfasts we eat at home and weekday breakfasts we take to work. At home, we eat cold cereal, fruit juice, toast and hot cereal. At work, we take fruit, coffee, snack bars and yogurt.

Hi ho, hi ho, we get yogurt to go.


Anonymous said...

I keep oatmeal and cereal in my office for workday breakfasts.