Exchange Traded Foods

Bacon and eggs: how's YOUR breakfast doing?

Breakfast is traditionally said to be the most important meal of the day, but can you track how well yours is doing?

In the cornucopia of customised and specialised indices, it is astounding that no one has yet come up with a family of breakfast indices. Surely in the innovative and imaginative world of exchange traded funds and commodities, someone is planning this.

Because we all have different ideas of what is acceptable on the breakfast table, it would be necessary to have a number of indices, which might function as indicators of the relative global standing of different cultures. I’m picturing baskets of ETFs, each offering a set of futures-based ETFs representing key ingredients in a good breakfast.

Traditionally the full English breakfast includes bacon, eggs, toast and tea, while the French and Italians tend to have a pastry and coffee, perhaps with some orange juice for vitamins.

So the English Breakfast ETF might include pork bellies, wheat , butter and soya or maize futures – the latter, which doubles up as chicken feed, as a proxy for eggs, which do not yet seem to be represented on world futures markets, despite some discussion of the possibility in India a few years ago.

The Continental Breakfast ETF (Le Petit Dejeuner) would include wheat, orange juice and coffee, with perhaps some cocoa futures for those who prefer a gentler start to the day.

To modify the EB ETF for the North American market, one might substitute coffee for tea and add some maple syrup. Unfortunately, although I’m fairly sure there are maple syrup futures, I can’t find where they are traded.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of the possible range of Breakfast ETFs – my favourite breakfast is the Sri Lankan staple of hoppers, spicy dal and onion sambol. Since onion futures are illegal in the US, it will likely be a while before this ETF is freely tradeable there.

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FTfm is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

FTfm's specialist writing team offer their insights into the global fund management industry.

About the authors

Pauline Skypala has been editor of FTfm for four years having previously been deputy personal finance editor. She joined the FT in 1999 and has been writing on savings and investment issues throughout her career.

Steve Johnson, FTfm deputy editor, has been a journalist for 17 years, 10 of which have been with the FT.

Sophia Grene, reporter on FTfm, has been a financial journalist in print and online for 12 years.

Ruth Sullivan has worked as a financial/business journalist and foreign correspondent and for the past 10 years has been at the FT.