Breakfast has long been called the most important meal of the day, and the cliche is proving increasingly true for packaged food makers and restaurants looking to serve consumers’ growing craving for morning meals that balance healthy, yummy and easy to eat on the go.

“Consumers have really absorbed the message for awhile now that starting your day with a bowl full of sugar is not the best way to sustain your energy and be your best,” said Kara Nielsen, culinary director of Sterling Rice Group. “It’s part and parcel with the anti-carb and pro-protein trends, and some of these nutritional themes we keep reading about in the news and hearing about on CNN.”

Retail breakfast food sales grew during the recession and they’re expected to hit $15.7 billion by 2017, a 26% increase from 2012, according to Mintel data. Still, many time-crunched consumers say they skip or skimp on the morning meal, according to a 2014 report from Clarkston Consulting, and breakfast food brands including Kellogg’s, Kraft, Hillshire Brands and Hormel Foods have been working to create breakfast bars and other more convenient options. (read more…)

SmartBrief’s food and beverage readers saw CPG companies making some big moves in the product arena in our news coverage this week, with Keurig informing consumers about the upcoming launch of its Keurig Kold machine and WhiteWave reporting a 27% growth in shares so far this year, driven by the company’s yogurt, plant-based and Horizon Organic products. Cheerios is taking a big step into the gluten-free market with five gluten-free cereal varieties, and Slim Jim is looking to capture more male millennial consumers with its new Funny or Die ad campaign.

Food companies seemed to be focused on their growth strategies this week. Anthony Bourdain announced plans for a shipping warehouse full of food destinations from vendors, to stalls, to shops. Albertsons announced it could raise up to $1.84 billion in an initial public offering, while Kroger gathered 5,000 of its managers from across the company to talk about the retailer’s future growth. (read more…)

Here is a question you’ve probably never heard from behind the bar: “Excuse me, bartender? Exactly how water-efficient IS that double IPA on tap?”

While I personally ask that two or three times each week, I realize it usually isn’t a top concern for most beer enthusiasts — at least not yet.

Trends, they are a-changing

“Beer drinkers will always choose their beer based upon quality, taste, and local origin,” said Cheri Chastain, sustainability manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “We focus heavily upon these three topics but we want to add one more cutting-edge issue: environmental sustainability.”

That said, Chastain is beginning to find sustainability is a brand differentiator and beer drinkers are taking notice.

“More and more, we are finding that customers are excited to learn sustainability is a core value for us, and they look for our brand on every beer menu,” she said.

Restaurateurs should take note: beverage sales are an important part of business revenue, with full-service restaurants typically earning between $1,015 and $2,901 per seat, per year for beer and wine combined, according to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Operations Report 2013-2014 edition. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by Burris Logistics

Packaged-goods companies should consider re-evaluating their distribution networks at least once a year, according to a webinar on challenges facing grocery logistics professionals.

The webinar, Delivering Results: Supply Chain Management Challenges and Opportunities in Today’s Environment, was sponsored by Burris Logistics.

“Three out of four companies have done network redesign recently, so if you haven’t, you need to have a very compelling reason as to why not,” said Tim Near, senior advisor at the Boston Consulting Group.

Near cited data from the 2015 Logistics Benchmarking Study by BCG and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which found that transportation challenges, driven in large part by an acute shortage of truck drivers, were the most commonly cited top-of-mind issue for supply chain leaders (83%). Those concerns were closely followed by network redesign, however, as 72% of supply chain leaders cited that as a significant priority at their companies, up from just 6% in 2012. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by TraceGains.

Wendy White had long been interested in the public health sector when she decided to pursue a career in food safety and quality.

As the director of corporate food safety and quality at Golden State Foods, she puts her expertise to work behind the scenes, helping to ensure that pathogens don’t reach the consumer end of the food chain. A microbiology class White was taking as an undergraduate piqued her interest in food.

“I thought, here is a way that I can really make an impact in the public health sector, where it can be preventative, and I can help people before they get sick,” she said. “The idea of that is really very intriguing to me.”

Golden State Foods is a global food manufacturing and distribution company that supplies a wide range of products for foodservice. It has four main divisions focusing on proteins, liquid products (such as condiments and salad dressings), aseptic dairy products and produce. (read more…)