Having it your way

Recently we went out for breakfast with our extended family. One person wanted eggs sunny-side up, another had an omelet filled with fresh vegetables and cheese, while a third wanted their side of bacon extra crispy. The meal served as a delicious reminder that the same basic ingredients, like eggs, can combine in so many ways to suit every preference. This is particularly true at breakfast.

At the American Egg Board, each quarter we’re tapping into the breakfast pulse in America to determine the overriding trends ruling menus and driving sales for both foodservice and retail venues.

This quarter, customization and mindful, healthy eating appear as the new normal. Whether they’re eating in or dining out, Americans want to know what’s in their food, where it comes from, how it’s made and they want to eat it their own way. In the latest installment of Incredible Breakfast Trends, we look at these New Behaviors and how they’re affecting American dining habits and breakfast. Here’s a glimpse: 

The Choice is Yours

Trend watchers credit Millennials with inventing customization, but they merely embraced it and led the rest of us toward culinary enlightenment. Americans have always ordered unique combinations of pizza toppings, dipped fries in tartar sauce and built their own omelets. While Millennials are taking the trend to new heights, prior generations also demanded customization. Don't forget, it was 40 years ago Burger King launched its ‘have it your way’ campaign.

The idea of customization is not new, but the delivery format in fast-casual restaurants, such as Chipotle and the like, is relatively new. Consider this: the fast-casual segment revenue grew 13 percent in 2014, which, according to Technomic, is 10 times that of the industry overall. And within the fast-casual segment, the build-your-own segment is even hotter – 2014 sales were up 22 percent

Read more about this Incredible Breakfast Trend here.

The Cultural Evolution of Health

For decades, doctors, government organizations and public health watchdogs warned Americans about the complications of obesity, sedentary lifestyles and diets consisting of junk food. By and large, they were ignored. But change is afoot. From a cultural evolutionary standpoint, it’s been relatively sudden. Setting the stage for all this was the cumulative effect of the 1960s counterculture lifestyle, the health and wellness movement in the 1970s and 1980s, and the recent cultural shift away from reacting to health problems in favor of proactively increasing quality of life.

The phrase “healthy food” means different things to different people. Some use food as a preventative health regimen, while others merely want to avoid sugar. There are those seeking high-fiber, gluten-free or high-protein meals free of meat. Dieters’ needs range from low calorie to high protein. And food manufacturers are left to figure out how to satisfy widely diverse requirements. Breakfast is a great platform to offer many options for virtually any definition of “healthy,” and food manufacturers are taking advantage of this in many creative ways from high protein breakfast bowls to egg white breakfast sandwiches.

Read more about this Incredible Breakfast Trend here.

Eggs are a good source of protein—in fact, they’re one of the only complete sources of protein. One egg supplies all nine essential amino acids, which are found in greater amounts in eggs than in plant-based proteins. This helps eggs fit easily into a high protein breakfast bowl or meal.

And talk about customization—at last Saturday’s morning meal, everyone in our party had eggs on the plate and each dish was prepared a different way. Looks like the future of breakfast will continue sunny-side up for those who like it packed with protein and filled with almost limitless choices.

2015-08-31 07:02:14

Millenials for mayo

Millennials might not have decided which party or candidate to support in next year’s presidential election, but when selecting a favorite condiment, they reach for mayonnaise.

A recent U.S. survey* by the Association for Dressings and Sauces reveals Millennials (ages 18 to 35) ranked first among all other age groups as frequent purchasers of mayonnaise or whipped dressings. The survey, conducted among 866 consumers aged 18 to 65, revealed that 37 percent of those aged 25 to 34 (the older half of Millennials) purchased the product in the past month. This is nearly twice the purchasing rate compared to the next group of consumers – those aged 55 to 65 (typically the age of their parents) — at 21 percent purchasing.

The national online survey also asked about the most popular uses for mayonnaise or whipped dressing. The top preferred use for mayo – among all age groups – was sandwiches: A full 90 percent said they spread it on a sandwich, followed by 73 percent using mayonnaise as an ingredient in cold salads. Forty-four percent use it to top vegetables, 25 percent on green salads and 25 percent use mayonnaise as a baking ingredient. As for myself, I like horseradish mayonnaise as a dip for sweet potato fries, or mayo spread on a classic BLT.

Speaking of the BLT, over the years a number of news outlets have spotlighted recipe favorites. The most recent roundup highlights restaurant interpretations of the BLT (in Nation’s Restaurant News) and it lists some flavorful twists of classic mayonnaise. Sandwiches feature cracked pepper balsamic or chipotle mayo, basil aioli, or in one variation that truly emphasizes the “B” in BLT — a bacon-infused mayo.  

Mayonnaise, when properly prepared, represents the perfect example of a thorough emulsion, when the fat is completely integrated into the water phase, without separation during storage or use.  Egg yolk, relied upon for its emulsifying properties, is a common ingredient in mayonnaise and part of its legal standard of identity as defined in 21 CFR 169.140.

When choosing a mayonnaise or whipped dressing, 40 percent of all respondents to the dressing survey said their number one factor was taste. With spicy foods on the rise in the U.S. (Euromonitor), consumers can now find mayonnaise flavored such as Sriracha, wasabi and roasted garlic. Although not a Millennial, I’m happy to represent my age group as a mayonnaise enthusiast.  We’ll be having a salad or dish made with some at my house very soon.


*Conducted in December 2014 by Turner Research Network, the survey polled adult consumers, aged 18 to 65, who identified themselves as the primary or shared grocery shoppers in the household and who purchased any type of spoonable dressing products from any retail outlet in the past 12 months. The sample for the survey was based on total U.S. households.

Photo Credit - Shutterstock

2015-08-17 07:29:00

IFT 2015 recap

Thousand of samples handed to passersby, hundreds of conversations and just as many (or more) questions about the current supply of egg products. All this and more characterized our recent experience exhibiting at the Institute of Food Technologists 2015 Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago this July.

It’s energizing to work the booth at the show and this year was no exception. Particularly encouraging was the response from many formulators who expressed a keen interest in the use of egg products as ingredients. The functional properties of REAL eggs continue to be appreciated and valued for product applications of all types. The Buyers’ Guide was quick to disappear.

We did field quite a few questions about the current situation regarding avian influenza. A lot is happening behind the scenes with government, researchers, processors and farmers working together to prevent new incidences of avian influenza. Every possible avenue is being explored to restore the supply of egg products to its former levels.

In case you happened to walk the show floor, we had a corner booth with great visibility and lots of traffic. We noticed extra traffic the first day of the show, on Sunday, when we were sampling Dulce de Leche Pudding with Pumpkin Seed Crunch. We were filling sample cups as quickly as possible and still weren’t able to keep up with demand. Those who tasted it kept returning for more and bringing their colleague with them. I kept hearing, “My coworker told me I had to stop and try some,” or “I’ve never had a Dulce de Leche dessert that tasted this good.”

This rich custard flavored with caramel and vanilla bean incorporated egg yolks to supply creaminess and flavor and to capitalize on their emulsifying and thickening properties for proper texture. The sweet and spicy cinnamon-glazed pumpkin seed crunch lent a contrasting texture to the creamy pudding base and this textural balance received multiple compliments. The crunchy topping relied on egg whites for crisping and browning and to help the spices adhere

While the pudding was admittedly the star of the show, we also sampled two types of savory cookies that were well received; Rosemary and Asiago with Heirloom Tomato Curd and a Bacon & Caramelized Onion Cookie with Raspberry Balsamic Curd. Eggs supply crispness, structure and tenderness to the cookies, and emulsification, thickening, richness and creaminess to the accompanying curd.

This is our second year sampling product at IFT to highlight the incredible functionality, flavor and appearance of products that use REAL eggs and I think it's a winning concept. Anyone interested in following up after the show, or discussing methods to scale up these ideas, please contact me

2015-08-07 18:01:49