Breakfast decisions based on convenience

by | May 14, 2019

With breakfast being the most important meal of the day, a survey found that Asia-Pacific consumers made decisions ahead of health benefits and nutritional value.


Though Asia-Pacific consumers understand the benefits of a healthy breakfast, the majority still make breakfast decisions based on convenience, according to a survey done by nutrition company Herbalife Nutrition. Seven in 10 or 67 percent of respondents said they make decisions based on convenience, ahead of health benefits (43 percent) and nutritional value (33 percent).

Conducted in March 2019, with 5,500 respondents in 11 markets – Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam – the Asia Pacific Healthy Breakfast Survey 2019 builds upon the original study conducted in 2018, which looked at consumers’ attitudes and habits towards breakfast. This year, the survey uncovered the typical local breakfast combinations that consumers opt for, the factors influencing these decisions, as well as their views of what makes up a healthier breakfast combination.

“It is widely understood that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Starting each day with a healthy breakfast supports metabolism, muscle health and long-term weight management. With this in mind, it is essential that consumers make informed decisions to kick start their day with the right nutrients,” said Stephen Conchie, senior vice-president and managing director, Asia Pacific, Herbalife Nutrition.


Breakfast choices

When asked about the breakfast choices that Asia-Pacific consumers would typically go for, the survey revealed “coffee and eggs” as the most popular breakfast combination for consumers in Australia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The only exceptions were Hong Kong and Indonesia where “tea and eggs” took top spot, and in Vietnam where “coffee and bread bun” was voted the top breakfast combination.

On average, Asia-Pacific consumers said that they consume their typical breakfast combination 16 times each month, equating to around once every two days.



With convenience being the key consideration factor in their choice of breakfast, majority of consumers also chose the most convenient way to get their typical breakfast ready:

  • 51 percent said they would prepare the breakfast from scratch at home.
  • 22 percent would purchase it from a nearby eatery.
  • 18 percent would prepare it using processed food at home.

When it comes to their preferred location to consume breakfast:

  • 70 percent prefer to consume breakfast at home.
  • 11 percent prefer to consume it at a nearby eatery.
  • 10 percent would consume it at work.
  • 6 percent would consume it on-the-go.


Healthier breakfast choices

When asked about what they would consider as a healthier breakfast combination, the views of Asia-Pacific consumers were divided. In Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, milk was considered a healthier beverage option compared to coffee; in Hong Kong and Taiwan, soy milk was considered a healthier option; while in Malaysia and Singapore, tea was considered healthier.

The top healthier breakfast combination in each of the Asia-Pacific markets are:

  • Milk and eggs – Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam
  • Plain water and fruits – Australia
  • Soy milk and cereal – Hong Kong
  • Milk and plain toast – Japan
  • Plain water and rice – Korea
  • Tea and eggs – Malaysia
  • Tea and oatmeal – Singapore
  • Soy milk and eggs – Taiwan

The diversity of responses shows that Asia-Pacific consumers may not be fully aware of the ideal nutritional make-up for breakfast. While the “plain water and fruits” combination selected by consumers in Australia is high in fiber and vitamin content, there is a noticeable lack of protein, which when consumed in appropriate amounts at breakfast, supports metabolism, muscle health and weight management. Additionally, the healthier breakfast option selected by consumers in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan are lacking significantly in fiber.


Desire for healthier breakfasts

Despite the lack of widespread understanding on the ideal nutritional composition for a healthy breakfast, over eight in 10 (82 percent) Asia-Pacific consumers said that they desire to consume healthier breakfasts, with over nine in 10 consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam wanting to do so. However, the lack of time (62 percent), amount of effort required (31 percent) and inconvenience (31 percent) remained as key obstacles that prevent them from doing so.




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