The manufacturer of soy-based protein ingredients commissioned the survey of 1,000 consumers who ate breakfast at least three times a week, to learn more about habits and attitudes. Their aim was to define opportunities for protein-enhanced breakfast foods. A large majority of respondents placed importance on breakfasts that helped maintain energy levels, while two-thirds considered it essential for breakfasts to fill them up. "The relevance of soy protein, in particular to these needs, is its ability to deliver sustained energy and satiety benefits as a high-quality, plant-based protein," said Jean Heggie, Solae director of marketing. "Consumers seeking the benefits of protein in the morning want to get those benefits in a low-fat and convenient format. Soy protein fits well in foods and beverages designed to deliver on those attributes." Proteins, such as those in soy, are well known for providing satiety - that is, making the consumer feel fuller for longer. However, slow release carbohydrates also boost satiety when compared to simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. This suggests that soy could be used in conjunction with whole grains to provide satiating breakfast cereals. The survey Results from Solae's survey found that 79 percent of respondents either agreed strongly or somewhat with the statement: "Foods and beverages that help maintain my energy levels throughout the morning are important to me." Meanwhile, 66 percent agreed strongly or somewhat that "the most important benefit I look for in my breakfast choices are foods that will 'fill me up' and hold me over". According to Mintel, the most active area for soy sales are cereal products, which grew 20 percent from 2005 to 2007 by addressing the need for protein- and fiber- rich breakfast foods that are also low in calories and fat. Heggie said: "There is already widespread understanding and appreciation for the benefits of protein among consumers today. However, there remains opportunity to educate consumers about benefits of specific protein sources. Convenient cerealsAnother important factor concerning breakfast choices, identified in the survey was convenience. In fact, 20 percent of respondents were identified as on-the-run eaters, a trend that has been increasing as busy lives mean people have less time to sit down at meal times. Other segments identified through the survey were snackers (18 percent), guilt avoiders who eat healthily to make up for later indulgences (17 percent), mood and productivity concerned (15 percent), nutrition seekers (15 percent) and energy seekers (15 percent). Heggie said: "Our segmentation analysis revealed six distinct segments of breakfast consumers. Each segment presents unique opportunities for food marketers to position the benefits of protein and has implications for product design and execution." Whole grains While the survey provides good news for soy producers who can boast the satiating properties of soy protein, research continues to point towards health benefits of whole grains. One recent study published in the Archives of Intern Medicine said that consuming at least one serving of whole grains cereal a day could reduce a man's risk of heart failure by 30 percent. Whole grains have received considerable attention in the past year, especially in the US where the FDA permits foods containing at least 51 per cent whole grains by weight and are low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol to carry a health claim, which links them to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Additionally, potassium content has been linked to lower blood pressure, and when using whole grain as the fiber source, a product can also provide satiety.