Incredible Breakfast Trends

Consumers’ View of Healthy Breakfasts

There is no standard definition for a healthy breakfast, as the words conjure up different things for different people. American consumers define healthy foods, using a wide variety of personal parameters, showing that healthy is relative. For some, the food must be high in fiber, meatless, organic or gluten-free. Others use food as a pharmacy, seeking items rich in protein, iron or calcium. Locavores view foods grown nearby as being healthier. Still others demand only non-GMO, antibiotic-free or sustainably-raised foods on their plates.

Kelly Weikel, Technomic’s director of consumer insights, says consumers are increasingly “choosing their own balanced, personal approach to health and wellness that makes them feel good emotionally and physically.” High-quality protein of the type found in eggs is critical for boosting brain function and supporting muscular health, enabling a successful do-it-yourself regimen.

This brings up a new wrinkle in the definition of healthy foods across the dayparts: where healthy was once based on nutrition alone ‒ low-fat, low-calorie ‒ it now includes where an item is produced, as well as its impact on the ecosystem. It began with the concept of organic and has now expanded to issues of ingredient transparency and interaction with the environment. Mintel says menu descriptors concerning sourcing rose 11 percent between 2012 and 2015. The shift was brought about by Millennials asking tough questions, ultimately changing many consumers’ approach to food.

Descriptors suggesting farm-to-table attributes like fresh eggs, natural maple syrup, real butter and locally grown produce make the biggest impact on menus according to the Hartman Group, with 55 percent of consumers choosing “fresh” as being the most important. On a related point, Nielsen found over 60 percent of Americans say the absence of artificial colors or flavors is important to their grocery purchase decisions.

The following research results showcase other changes in Americans’ relationship with their food:

  • Mintel reports consumers are more mindful about what they eat at breakfast and are looking to add high-quality proteins like eggs, lean meats and poultry.
  • A 2015 Technomic survey shows 64 percent of respondents would be more likely to order a breakfast item that is high in protein. With six grams of protein per egg, hot breakfast dishes including them significantly increase a meal’s protein quotient.
  • NPD research says one quarter of adults look for protein on nutrition labels, up 39 percent between 2006 and 2013.
  • The Hartman Group says consumers’ desire for ‒
    • “The shortest list of ingredients” rose 20 percent in the past five years when shopping for groceries, as the shorter the list, the purer and simpler the item.
    • “Added vitamins and minerals” dropped by 12 percent, likely due to a need for more natural, simpler items.
  • Technomic found ‒
    • 62 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase foods and beverages that are locally sourced.
    • 86 percent of consumers want more transparency from restaurants about ingredients in their food (the foodservice version of clean labeling)

The current uptick of interest in veggie-focused cuisine can be attributed to the desire for fresh foods and clean labels, as well as the spread of global food culture in the U.S. Using meat as center of the plate is really only common in North America and Western Europe. As we become accustomed to other cultures’ cuisines, meals that rely on eggs and vegetable protein quietly step into our routine.

Considering the attitudes listed above, it becomes more apparent that the egg, a fresh, natural, nutrient rich, clean labeled and environmentally-friendly protein is the perfect partner to combine with other healthy ingredients throughout the day. Fresh and natural cheeses, veggies, herbs and poultry ‒ all are important to today’s consumers and all can be combined in endless combinations with eggs in scrambles, burritos, omelets, Benedicts, frittatas, sandwiches and platters.

Millennials have now surpassed the number of Baby Boomers and become the largest American demographic group. A 2015 Time magazine survey of Millennial parents found 30 percent were very/extremely concerned about other parents judging the food their children eat. Locavorism is supported by 52 percent, and 41 percent buy organic whenever they can. These are the people raising the next generation of consumers, which increases by 9,000 babies on a daily basis. Both the parents and their children will expect foods that are antibiotic- and hormone-free, more veggie-heavy than today and with cleaner labels. Smart operators and manufacturers will build menus and grocery items in accordance with the expectations of that next generation. They could appropriately be called table stakes for healthy business.


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Put An Egg On It

All Day Breakfast

Multicultural Cuisines

Evolution of Healthy

Indulgent Comfort

New Competition

New Behaviors

Regional Breakfast Menu

Comfort Foods with Flair

Clockless Dining

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The New Consumer

Breakfast Influencers