(USA TODAY) -- Out with bacon. In with breakfast sandwiches.
Breakfast sandwiches now rank No. 10 on the list of the most popular breakfast items, replacing bacon, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm. This is the first time breakfast sandwiches have been on the top 10 list since the company started tracking breakfast foods and beverages in 1985.
The top 10 foods and beverages consumed at breakfast at home and away from home in order are: coffee, cold cereal; fruit juice, milk, bread (toast), eggs, fruit, hot cereal, tea and breakfast sandwiches.
"That's the same list that it was 10 years ago with the exception of the breakfast sandwich, and it replaced bacon," says Harry Balzer, NPD's chief industry analyst.
"Americans like hearty breakfasts, but we want that breakfast to be convenient," he says. "The breakfast sandwich has bread, eggs, cheese and meat such as bacon or sausage. It's a very portable, very convenient offering. More people are eating breakfast in their cars than ever before.
"We want new things, but we want new versions of things we already know."
Most breakfast sandwiches are purchased at restaurants and not made at home, Balzer says. Last year, nearly half (45.5%) of all breakfasts ordered at restaurants included a sandwich. By comparison, only 23% of breakfasts included a sandwich in 1989.
Registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward, author of MyPlate for Moms, says, "To make a healthier version of the classic egg sandwich, use one or two fortified eggs for more nutrition, a whole grain English muffin or pita round, Canadian bacon and low-fat cheese. Serve with fruit, and you have a balanced meal."
Balzer says coffee always has been No. 1 on the breakfast list, but it's where people get the coffee that has changed the most.
"Now we are increasingly getting coffee from outside the house instead of inside," he says. "But in that last couple of years, we're seeing a shift in this as the single-pot coffee makers make their way into the American home."
The next item that will appear on that top 10 breakfast list over the next decade is going to be yogurt, Balzer says. It's now No. 12 on the list, he says.