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Americans Are Increasingly Obsessed With Breakfast

The trend is partly thanks to fast food breakfast

More Americans are apparently finding that old adage about breakfast being the most important meal of the day to be true, at least according to a new report by market research firm NPD Group. In its tracking of consumer eating behaviors, NPD found that breakfast and morning snack consumption is forecast to grow faster than the U.S. population over the next few years.

NPD estimates breakfast consumption (both in and away from home) will grow by five percent through 2019 — ahead of the expected population growth of four percent. Meanwhile, annual morning snack consumption — think fruit, yogurt, granola bars — per person has increased 17 percent over the past six years.

Fast food restaurants are partly driving the trend. NPD's report says that morning meal visits to quick-service restaurants increased five percent over the last year, on top of a three percent increase in the prior year. For consumers, convenience and affordability are key — breakfast foods showing the most growth include breakfast sandwiches (hello, McGriddles) and portable foods, like yogurt and cereal bars. The average annual number of breakfasts consumed per person in 2015 was 361 (up 11 per person from 2010), meaning the average person is eating breakfast almost every day.

While fast-food and drive-thru restaurants have faced increasing competition from fast-casual options (like Chipotle and Panera), they still have a solid hold on the breakfast menu, thanks to the speed and convenience they offer. Breakfast foods, many of which contain large amounts of protein, are also generally seen as some of the healthier options to be found on fast food menus.

McDonald's successfully tapped into the breakfast trend with the launch of its all-day breakfast menu last October. Last month, the fast-food giant announced all-day breakfast had boosted its sales for the third quarter in a row, while some of the chain's competitors have even seen a a dip in their own sales as a result.

But despite the growing popularity of grabbing breakfast on-the-go, most consumers are still having breakfast the old-fashioned way: According to NPD's study, 70 percent of breakfasts are still consumed in the home.