April 15, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C.The current oatmeal trend in foodserviceboth chain and independentis a win-win scenario all around. For the operator, its an inexpensive item to add to the menu, it doesnt require addition of any new equipment to the back of the house, and it helps fuel the mounting attention paid to the morning daypart. For the consumer, its convenient and frequently portable, various toppings add appeal and easy consumer customization, and oats bring a wide range of health benefits to the table. Oatmeal is also the quintessential morning comfort food.
A number of U.S. chains, including Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, Cosi, Caribou Coffee, Jamba Juice and Pret a Manger, have added oatmeal to the menu within the past 18 months. McDonalds is also in the process of test-marketing its oatmeal.
Oatmeal has gone from frumpy to fabulous in only a few short years. The progressively wider reach of various healthy grains throughout the United Statesparticularly the communication of the health benefits of whole grainshas helped it along the way. Also, when Starbucks added it to the menu, it quickly became a hit with customerssomething that will attract the attention of anyone competing in the increasingly competitive morning foodservice rush.
Although cold cereal still remains the most-popular morning breakfast food, hot cereal has been gaining ground over the last several years as part of a retro health trend, notes NPD Group analysts.
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