The traditional British fry up has made a come back as people shrug off processed meat health fears to eat bacon – but only for breakfast.
Bacon featured in 87 million more breakfasts in the UK during the past year, up by 14.3pc on last year, according to Kantar Worldpanel data.
The increased appetite comes despite it falling out of favour more generally following the publication of a World Health Organisation report which linked bacon and other processed meat to cancer, causing total sales to falling by 2.1pc over the year.
The WHO said 50g of processed meat a day increased the chance of developing certain types of cancer by 18pc, putting it in the highest risk ranking along with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic and cigarettes.
But the boom in meat-based breakfasts suggests Brit’s love for sausage and bacon outweighs the associated health concerns.
Around 5.9pc more sausages are being eaten at breakfast this year compared to last year, the data showed, despite overall sausage sales falling by 2.9pc
It comes as an egg boom is also being created by the war on sugar as British families are ditching cereal for eggs at breakfast.
Egg consumption at breakfast is up by 18pc over the past two years according to a research report commissioned by the British Egg Industry Council.
Breakfast cereals can contain as much as three teaspoons of sugar – the equivalent of two and a half chocolate biscuits. Kellogg’s crunchy nut cornflakes, for example, contain 11g of sugar per 30g bowl.
Cereal is still Britain’s most popular breakfast but sales are falling.
Over the past year, ready-to-eat cereals have lost a combined £52.6 million in the supermarkets and the market is down 2.4 per cent.
Around 90pc of breakfasts are eaten at home, but going out for breakfast has become a rising trend with 15pc more people going out for breakfast and brunch than last year.
The data also shows fewer Brits are skipping breakfast. This year 600,000 less people skipped breakfast in an average week, it found.
Breakfast behaviour is dictated by demographics with those aged 16 to 34 being most likely to skip breakfast.
Chris Russell, consumer analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, said:“Cooked breakfasts are growing in popularity, and so we see key components of the classic fry-up doing well. They are particularly popular at weekends, with families and couples increasingly taking time in the mornings to sit down together. The proliferation of out of home breakfast clubs and brunch venues has driven a shift towards the ‘social breakfast’ or ‘brunch’ culture in the UK, giving breakfast a new status and leading to a desire to recreate these experiences in the home.
“Shoppers are increasingly looking for their breakfast foods to deliver protein-rich, filling ways to start their day – an area which bacon certainly delivers on. Declines in bacon consumption at other meals and falling sales overall suggest concerns around processed meats may be leading to changes in behaviour at other times of the day, but we’re not ready quite yet to give up our bacon at breakfast.”
Rebecca Hughes, an analyst at AHDB, a consumer analyst, said: “Consumers are still aware of the messaging arising from the WHO report, however enjoyment has a far greater influence on consumption choice than health does.