The burning issue surrounding toast and bread products for breakfast is, as in other areas, one of health.

Bread, toast and associated items formed 70% of all breakfasts in 2005, according to TNS, a figure which fell just 1.3% compared with the previous year.

Gordon Poulson, director of the Federation of Bakers, says: "Toast has always played an enormous role in breakfast and bakers are recognising this by producing bread specifically for toast - for instance, Warburtons has a toastie range. The great thing about bread is that it is a fantastic staple product, giving people the taste they want and energy with low fat. It gives people both taste and satisfaction."

At a time when people are turning away from the traditional cooked breakfast - TNS says the percentage of people citing health as their greatest consideration in preparing the meal has risen from 22% in 2002 to 27% last year - bread and toast are being presented as the alternatives. Indeed, Warburtons argues that, because of the fibre, calcium, vitamins and carbohydrates in wholemeal bread, wholemeal toast with jam, marmalade or low-fat spread presents a balanced start to the day.

Baked goods company Délifrance is tapping into the health aspect of breakfast by its launch last month of a bread containing Omega-3, following the example of Sparky Brand. Allied Bakeries has done the same with Kingsmill Head Start. Délifrance has also brought out a muesli bread that contains grains, seeds, small fruits and linseed oil.

Bread and toast are not the only options available to increasingly sophisticated consumers. A report from Mintel says the morning goods market benefits from a buoyant economy, with consumer confidence tending to favour greater consumption of value-added bakery snacks.

It says: "Morning goods in this category are fuelling growth in the market and, in particular, it is the non-traditional items, including bagels, and indulgence products such as croissants, Danish pastries, and American muffins, which are among the most dynamic."

Délifrance marketing controller Lucy Pickersgill says that the rising numbers of British people who holiday on the Continent has raised demand for croissants, petit pain and brioche. "Croissants are obviously the biggest of these, but we are seeing increasing interest in brioche," she says. "It's a growing market, up 26% in value year-on-year."

The Original Waffle Company says that UK consumers are increasingly willingly to embrace bakery goods from other cultures. It claims waffles are now worth £5m at retail prices

in the UK.