Incredible Breakfast Trends

The Hispanic Connection

The United States wears its badge of melting pot with pride for the many nationalities that have chosen this country as their home. Most of our forbearers were once considered minorities’ ‒ Swedes, Italians, Irish and all the rest. We are for the most part, largely a nation of one-time immigrants.

But there has never been a larger or more influential minority than today’s Hispanic Americans. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Hispanic population numbered 55.3 million in 2014. That’s 17.3 percent of our total population, making it the largest ethnic demographic group in the U.S.

People whose families arrived here from Mexico make up the largest component of those figures, at 64 percent, or more than 35 million people. According to Pew Research Center (PRC) data, as of 2014 the average age among the Mexican demographic was 26, meaning the group will only continue to rise in terms of buying power.

Amy Sousa, ethnographic analyst at The Hartman Group, notes, Marketers lose sight of the fact that the majority of Hispanics in the U.S. were born here. She’s referring to the huge percentage of Hispanic consumers who are Millennials (approximately 60 percent per PRC) and grew up as second-generation Americans. This group thinks, acts and feels about food much like any other Millennials, whether in grocery stores or restaurants. Immigrants are naturally fond of the foods they knew back home, but second-generation kids are already home so the food of their homeland includes chilaquiles as well as breakfast sandwiches bought from drive-thrus or convenience store freezer cases. A sausage, egg and cheese biscuit may one day be a point of nostalgia for them.

Technomic says only 22 percent of Mexican Americans’ breakfasts are eaten away from home, leaving 78 percent of them available to be made from convenience food options. Food manufacturers are serving this market with spicy breakfast burritos in formats ranging from gluten-free to high-protein. Examples include 7-11’s microwaveable 7-Select Bacon & Egg Breakfast Burrito, packing 21 grams of protein and made with all-natural pork; and Sweet Earth Natural Foods’ Baja Breakfast Burrito with 20 grams.

Breakfast also offers a great opportunity to build restaurant traffic with this group. This is especially true for quick service restaurants (QSRs), as Technomic tells us QSRs are favorite locations for Mexican Americans to gather for breakfast or snacks with friends and family.

Despite this group being just as likely to enjoy a bacon, egg and sriracha breakfast sandwich as a plate of migas, the success of breakfast burritos and tacos at non-Hispanic chains has led many Mexican concepts to begin offering their own breakfast menu. Chains, including Taco Bell, Del Taco, Taco Cabana and Torchy’s are attracting breakfast dollars from a good percentage of Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike with breakfast tacos, burritos, quesadillas and plates.

But for real creativity and/or authenticity in menuing foods from south of the border, look to independent operators:

  • Hector’s Chilaquiles: blue corn tortilla chips sautéed in homemade green salsa with grilled all natural chicken breast and Monterey jack cheese, topped with two eggs, avocado slices and fresh salsa (Benedict’s, West Dundee, Ill.)
  • The Rose Breakfast Burrito: scrambled eggs, smoked Cheddar, peanut-poblano mole, crispy potatoes, braised bacon and avocado (Rose Cafe, Venice, Calif.)
  • Tamale Ranchero: roasted pork, poached egg, ranchero sauce, pickled black bean & red onion, citrus crema, radish and micro-cilantro (Hola Arepa, Minneapolis)
  • Huevos En Cazuela: chorizo, potatoes, two soft poached eggs, pickled green tomato salsa (The Grocery, Charleston, S.C.)
  • Mexican Omelette: chorizo, black beans, green chilies, onions, jalapenos, Jack & Cheddar cheese, salsa, avocado and sour cream (The Omelette Shoppe, Grand Rapids, Mich.)
  • Breakfast Burrito: basil tomato tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, guacamole, chorizo, queso fresco and sour cream, served with chipotle salsa (Whisk, Chicago)

American Hispanics, and particularly the large Mexican American subset, have impacted this country in many ways, not the least of which is in how we eat. We’ve happily pulled nachos and breakfast burritos into our lives and placed them right next to burgers and pizza in our culinary affections. It’s only a matter of time before huevos divorciados will be right up there with them.


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