Incredible Breakfast Trends

The Need for Indulgence

The categories of cuisine called comfort foods and those described as indulgent can overlap because they are both about the emotional aspect of dining. But there is an important difference. While “comfort foods” are personal and reminiscent, reminding each of us of our own childhoods or simpler times, “indulgent foods” normally signal decadent or rich items, those considered treats and rewards. Distinct but related, each type has its place in the spectrum of craveable foods on everyone’s culinary wish list.

Traditional breakfast foods like scrambled eggs, bacon and hot buttered anything have been classic American comfort foods for decades. These items have long composed the most important meal of the day, as well as the most comforting one. But changes began stirring in the 1970s. Two events in 1975 would both simplify and complicate the relationship between foodservice guests and the comfort aspect of their breakfasts. The combination of the introduction of McDonald’s first drive-thru and the national roll-out of the Egg McMuffin launched a very different way of looking at the morning meal.

Breakfast sandwiches were a natural partner for drive-thru convenience, and two generations of Americans have now been raised to grab breakfast through a drive-thru window. It’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s economical, and it fits many consumers’ harried morning schedules. Still being primarily the same assembly of eggs, meat and toasted bread that Mom used to serve on a plate when life was less hectic, the comfort foods have remained while the comforting atmosphere is gone.

And that’s where indulgent foods – comfort foods on steroids – come in. When consumers eat breakfast on the run, they accept comfort foods in whatever form their schedules allow. But when given the luxury of time to enjoy a breakfast – no matter when it’s consumed – they want indulgence. Upscale Eggs Benedict, goat cheese and artichoke scrambles, lobster crepes, fresh squeezed juices, flavored coffees – these are the reward versions of morning comfort foods.

Somewhere in the American diner’s psyche resides a melancholy about the loss of long-ago times feeling nurtured at the breakfast table. Indulging our need to feel taken care of may be the basis for the recent rise of chain brunch menus like the one at Macaroni Grill, and all-day breakfasts including, McDonald’s, White Castle, Dunkin’ Donuts, Denny’s and Golden Corral.

No matter what our mood, the trend is clear: breakfast, with its most comforting and indulgent foods, continues to grow in demand because consumers still long for that glow of being cared for. No one, it seems, doesn’t like comfort.


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Eggcyclopedia

Egg facts