When considering the purchase of eggs for your operation, there are a number of available options. America’s egg farmers produce eggs from multiple production systems – conventional, cage-free, free-range and organic. Here are some facts about the egg production process that you may want to consider:
• Conventional Cage eggs are produced from hens living in communal cage systems. There are multiple cage systems, depending upon the size of the birds, and the facility as well. Farmers that utilize the cage system participate in handling and care practices as well. While providing hens with access to fresh food and water, cages also work as nesting space. Cage systems help protect against predators.
• Cage-free eggs are laid by hens living on indoor floor operations, sometimes called free-roaming hens. The hens are usually housed in a barn or poultry house, and have unlimited access to fresh food and water, while some may also forage if they are allowed outdoors. Cage-free systems vary and include barn-raised and free-range hens, both of which have shelter that helps protect against predators. Both types are produced under common handling and care practices, which provides floor space, nest space, and perches.
• Free-range eggs are produced by hens raised outdoors or that have access to the outdoors, as weather permits. Shelter is provided during inclement weather and to help protect from predators. In addition to having continuous access to fresh food and water, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects and are sometimes referred to as pasture-fed hens.
• Organic eggs are produced according to national USDA organic standards related to methods, practices and substances used in producing and handling crops, livestock and processed agricultural products. Organic eggs are produced by hens fed rations having ingredients that were grown without most conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers. Antibiotics and growth hormones are prohibited (growth hormones are also prohibited in conventional systems as well). All organic systems are cage-free.
Mintel forecasts that sales for breakfast and brunch purchased at restaurants will regain composure and return to a path of growth.
• By 2014, Mintel expects sales to be $28.5 million, representing a 13% increase since 2009. However, when considering the impact of inflation, sales are expected to be up only 2%. With the prospect of an end to the recession in sight, Mintel forecasts that 2010 will see a slight rebound in sales as consumers regain confidence as a result of an increase in employment and disposable income.
Like the trends in the past few years, Mintel believes more players will enter the morning daypart as a way to build overall restaurant sales, giving rise to increased breakfast availability with a wider range of options for consumers.
• Increased competition in the industry will cause restaurant operators to push the innovation envelope, which can continue to provide momentum to this highly competitive daypart, even after the recession eases.
• Breakfast innovators will continue to blur the lines between segments by stealing plays from each others’ playbooks—more portable, convenient, and value options from full-service and more all-day breakfast availability as well as premium and unique breakfast menu items from limited-service players.
• Meeting the value/premium nexus will be tantamount to success in the near term. Paradox or not, consumer trends necessitate that premium and value should co-exist happily.
According to a 2010 Mintel research survey, eggs were the top ingredient in breakfast sandwiches for 2009. Additionally, the use of eggs in breakfast sandwiches grew by 13 percent over the last four years (from 2006 to 2009).
To help restaurant kitchens keep up-to-date on all the latest egg information, American Egg Board has developed an information-packed booklet, the Eggcyclopedia. Everything needed to know about eggs is contained in the 55-page booklet.
Some egg topics of particular interest in the publication include: egg nutrition, egg sizing and grading, egg preparation tips, egg product information, and more. Call (847) 296-7043 for your free copy.
According to NRA’s Chef Survey: What’s Hot 2010, ethnic-inspired breakfast items are the hottest trend in the breakfast/brunch category. Further validation that ethnic food is on point is recognized by the second hottest trend—traditional ethnic breakfast items.
Within the breakfast restaurant industry, ethnic breakfast interpretations are available. Certainly, the breakfast burrito is a fairly ubiquitous menu item; however, this is as far as ethnic menu items typically go.
• Of course, Mexican QSRs, Del Taco and Taco Bell feature breakfast items that stay true to their signature flavor profiles. Even menu maverick Jack in the Box has delved into ethnic breakfasts using authentic Hispanic ingredients like chorizo.
Take ethnic flavors beyond the expected. Look for Asian-flavored syrups as a topping for waffles, use coconut milk to flavor pancakes, and move beyond chorizo as an “ethnic” breakfast meat and consider carnitas or ethnically seasoned seafood.
Take liberties with traditional ethnic breakfast items such as huevos rancheros or shakshuka by making them a portable breakfast sandwich or bowl.
• Perhaps what the foodservice breakfast industry needs is an operator that can bring the ethnic breakfast into mainstream acceptance.
Breakfast is an affordable indulgence in this economy and your guests would like to see more of it. In fact, all-day breakfast is the #1 thing breakfast diners tell Mintel they’d like to see more often in restaurants.
The morning daypart has been less affected by the economic downturn than lunch or dinner, and it remains the best opportunity for growth. Restaurants added more than 460 new breakfast items to their menus in 2009, which was more than in either 2007 or 2008!
Mintel forecasts foodservice breakfast to expand by 13% from 2009 to 2014. According to Mintel’s Eric Giandelone, “Restaurant operators can also perk up sales by realizing that many diners crave breakfast outside traditional breakfast hours.”