Incredible Breakfast Trends

Veggies take center stage

Veggies are the darlings of the menu today, whether talking about plant “butchery,” one-bowl meals or ethnic creations becoming new favorites. Breakfast menus, already full of veggie-heavy items with omelets, skillets, scrambles and frittatas, offer room for even more plant-based presence. Eggs and veggies have always been friends, having served well together on sandwiches, salads and pizza, as well as in quiche, bibimbap and shakshuka. Technomic research also found that eggs are an attractive protein substitute for other proteins, as two-thirds of consumers would consider ordering them for that purpose.*

Back to the Beginning

For hundreds of years serving meat was a sign of social standing, as members of the upper class were the only ones who regularly could afford it. But in twentieth century America concepts like “a chicken in every pot” and unpretentious people being described as “meat-and-potatoes” showed meat was no longer exclusive, but the norm.

Fastest Growing Animal Protein

A legacy from those earlier centuries, protein has been considered the rightful center-of-the-plate (COP) occupant while veggies were thought to belong in a salad bowl or a secondary plated position. But changes are afoot in the American culinary landscape and vegetables are enjoying a new-found popularity. The current direction of menus favors veggies migrating to the center of our plates.

Key Drivers

There are a number of unconnected factors encouraging this trend:

  • The popularity of farmers’ markets has introduced consumers to super-fresh and often unfamiliar vegetables.
  • Global cuisines continue their inroads into our habits and awareness; often veggie-heavy, they are embraced by adventurous diners.
  • Millennials, now the largest demographic group, tend to seek out and champion new culinary experiences.
  • More chefs are finding creative outlets playing with the variety of flavors, textures and unexpected veggie combinations.
  • The growth in intentional dining makes fresh, sustainable, unprocessed and nutrient dense food increasingly attractive.

The Purveyors

Vegetarian restaurants certainly are enjoying plant-based popularity, but there are plenty of non-vegetarian operations taking advantage of plant-based ingredients as well. One national chain that blends veggie-forward menuing with a variety of proteins is True Food Kitchen. Its Garden Scramble is made with organic eggs, asparagus, broccolini, caramelized onion, roasted bell pepper and sweet potato. But the menu also includes albacore, beef, turkey and chicken paired with ingredients like Persian cucumbers, pole beans, olives, medjool dates, ginger, raisins and almonds.

Food manufacturers are likewise onboard with veggie-forward ingredients and meals. Del Monte’s Vegetable Noodles line includes six versions of refrigerated veggie-based noodles just waiting to be finished with spices and a poached egg. MorningStar Farms’ Veggie Bowls come with names like Thai Yellow Curry and Tuscan Greens & Beans that cry out for the addition of a soft-boiled egg or two.

The types of operations menuing combinations of eggs with multiple veggies show egg protein is a draw across all segments:

  • The Huckleberry Café in Santa Monica menus great examples, one being Organic Quinoa & Market Vegetables with Eggs, adding caramelized onion and chimichurri.
  • Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma serve a Vegetarian Bagel Omelette sandwich that mixes fresh eggs, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and shredded cheese.
  • The Bánh Mì at Chicago’s Ground Control is a symphony of ginger soy tofu, lentil pate, pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber, jalapeno, fresh mint, cilantro and sriracha garlic mayo topped with a fried egg.
  • In Illinois/Texas/Pennsylvania, Snap Kitchen’s Spinach Goat Cheese Scramble includes sweet potatoes, grape tomatoes, onion and spinach with scrambled egg whites.

It’s Time

As veggie-based dishes proliferate and find a home on the COP at both restaurants and homes, the addition of eggs ups the protein quotient and creates a more robust flavor profile and mouthfeel. With a full 50 percent of those surveyed* telling Technomic they want restaurants to offer a wider variety of vegetarian entrees, the time is right for elegant egg and veggie matchmaking.

* © 2017 Technomic Inc.


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