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Heart-healthy Start

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It’s been said millions of times over: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now it seems Americans might finally be getting the message.
The latest round of research from Mintel finds that 69 percent of U.S. consumers who eat breakfast foods during the week consider low-cholesterol or heart-healthy claims to be important when choosing what to eat. Nearly as many (65 percent) regard low-fat and high-fiber as significant health-related attributes when selecting breakfast foods.

Even better news for makers and sellers of breakfast foods: 57 percent of respondents say they would be willing to spend more on better quality prepackaged breakfast foods; 41 percent would like to see more organic options in this category.

Interestingly, the study finds that even those whose tastes run more toward items typically considered less healthy expressed interest in improved options. More than half (52 percent) call for healthy variants of waffles, 48 percent would like to see more health-oriented pancakes mixes and 37 percent are pining for healthier sausages.

Overall, Mintel reports that the breakfast foods category has experienced solid growth of late. Sales increased 20 percent, to $12 billion, between 2007 and 2011, and the market is forecast to grow at an even greater pace over the next five years.