Consumers are eating more breakfast foods than usual—and all day, for that matter—during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent nationwide survey of more than 2,000 adults by The Harris Poll and General Mills Foodservice, which offers tips for foodservice operators to enhance their breakfast offerings.
Nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) report eating more breakfast foods during the pandemic, and nearly 4 in 5 (79%) have eaten breakfast foods outside of the traditional daypart in the past year, the survey found. Breakfast foods for dinner is most popular with consumers, at 59%, followed by lunch (49%), as a snack (39%) and for dessert (20%).
Reasons for this change in eating habits include having more freedom in what and when they eat (52%), craving their favorite breakfast foods (37%) and wanting to eat something that brings them joy (33%).
“Consumers’ love of breakfast is strong, giving chefs and foodservice operations the chance to reimagine breakfast,” said Mark Harmon, who analyzes consumer insights for Minneapolis-based General Mills Foodservice.
The company shares several tips for foodservice operations to appeal to these changing eating habits, while showcasing breakfast as a profit driver across dayparts:
- Serve breakfast all-day with a special menu of morning favorites or a signature breakfast item of the day.
- Offer menu items with a breakfast flair (a grilled cheese doughnut), or give traditional breakfast foods a new twist (biscuit avocado toast, cinnamon roll waffles). More than half (66%) of consumers said they love creative twists on breakfast menu items, according to the survey.
- Introduce a menu of dessert items, or “bresserts,” made from familiar breakfast items (cinnamon roll cobbler, strawberry scone shortcake, ice cream waffle sandwiches, birthday cake pancakes).
- Offer “take and bake” options for breakfast foods (tray of cinnamon rolls or muffins, a breakfast casserole to-go).
- Bundle breakfast foods together for a family brunch meal kit (biscuits and gravy, pancakes with sausage or bacon and fresh fruit, breakfast sandwiches with yogurt parfaits).
The pandemic has meant more people working from home, and subsequently cooking from home, resulting in breakfast once again becoming the most important meal of the day.
“Epic breakfast every day” is one of Whole Foods Market’s top 10 food trends for 2021, with the Austin, Texas-based retailer predicting more “innovative products tailored to people paying more attention to what they eat in the morning.”
And as companies begin to bring employees back into the office, breakfast foods that nourish and sustain—for at-home or on-the-go—will fuel this trend. Here are six products released in retail recently …
Over Easy is entering the breakfast category with the launch of Over Easy Breakfast Bars. The bars are available in Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut, Peanut Butter and Vanilla Matcha flavors. The bars contain 8-11 grams of protein and 6-8 grams of fiber. They are gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free, and have an SRP of $2.49 per bar.
Ideal for breakfast or an anytime snack, Tillamook Creamery Collection Yogurts come in six side-by-side flavor combinations: Oregon Strawberry paired with Plain; Oregon Blueberry paired with Vanilla; Northwest Raspberry paired with Blackberry; California Peach paired with Plain; Dark Cherry paired with Plain; and Vanilla Bean paired with Plain. The yogurts contain 13 to 14 grams of protein and 9 to 10 grams of sugar, depending on flavor.
This month, Just Egg Sous Vide bites will roll out in grocers nationwide. The non-GMO, egg-free, dairy-free product will be available in packs of four and can be heated from frozen in a conventional oven. Flavors include America (roasted potato, dill, chives, red bell pepper and black pepper); India (curry, broccoli, cauliflower, coconut milk and lemongrass); Japan (portobello mushrooms, yams, togarashi, soy and tamari); and Mexico (roasted poblanos, chipotle chile powder, black beans, corn and lime).
Jimmy Dean, a Tyson Foods brand, has released two new plant-based alternatives to its classic breakfast sandwiches: Jimmy Dean Plant-Based Patty, Egg & Cheese Croissant Sandwich and Jimmy Dean Delights Plant-Based Patty & Frittata Sandwich. The latter is now available at Sam’s Clubs nationwide in 12-count packages. Jimmy Dean Delights Plant-Based Patty & Frittata Sandwich will be available nationwide this spring in a four-count box.