There’s nothing like the smell of a toasted crumpet or English muffin to lift the spirits - especially first thing in the morning.

High tea favourites are becoming increasingly popular at the breakfast table - helped in no small part by NPD specifically targeting the market. In the past four years, consumption of Scotch pancakes has risen by 127.6% [Kantar Worldpanel 12 m/e August 2011]. English muffins have become almost twice as popular, and tea cakes and crumpets are also catching on, eaten 32% and 31.5% more often.

But why are more and more of us eating tea-time treats for breakfast?

Taking to comforting breakfasts is “classic recessionary behaviour”, says Warburtons marketing controller Megan Harrison. “Tea cakes and muffins can help bring enjoyment in gloomy times.”

Some say it is their nostalgic value that makes such treats so appealing. “The popularity of these products at breakfast could be down to a resurgence of people returning to flavours from their youth,” says Mariam Thomas, insight and performance manager for Cuisine de France.

Others suggest that their popularity owes much to Britain’s growing café culture. “The rise in alternative breakfast bakery appears to have been driven by having something to accompany our cappuccino or latte,” says Daniella Betts, senior consultant at branding agency Dragon Rouge. “In-home options like English muffins, crumpets and squares can be handily defrosted and reheated to make tempting fresh bakes that do make breakfast more interesting.”

As for those who don’t fancy a traditional British treat, there’s always the bagel, which is also hitting the mark with consumers. Market leader New York Bakery Co reports that the category has grown by 33.9% in the past year and is now worth £50m [Nielsen Scantrack 52 w/e 23 June 2012] - making the 8.8% overall growth of morning goods look almost sedate.