Growing Appetite for Frozen Hand-held Breakfast Items in USA

Breakfast in America is blazing new trails, with protein, portability and ethnic flavors in the forefront.

Restaurant breakfast menu trends – which often preview what will eventually reach supermarket shelves – will be led this year by ethnic-inspired fare (such as Chorizo scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes); traditional ethnic breakfast items (huevos rancheros, shakshuka and ashta); fruit items; egg white omelettes and sandwiches; and yogurt and Greek yogurt parfaits, according to American Culinary Foundation chefs polled by the National Restaurant Association for its 2014 Culinary Forecast.

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Among fast food operators, the Columbus, Ohio-headquartered White Castle chain has introduced Belgian Waffle Sandwiches. They feature egg and cheese paired with a choice of bacon or sausage stacked between two fluffy waffles imported from Belgium. Also on the menu, and served all day long, is Chicken & Waffles topped with creamy gravy and bacon crumbles.

white-castle-waffles-600xx1197-797-0-103Imported Belgian Waffles star in White Castle’s new Belgian Waffle breakfast sandwich assortment, which serves up egg and cheese with a choice of sausage or bacon. A third offering, available all day long, is Chicken & Waffles. It features breaded chicken breast meat between two Belgian waffles topped with gravy and bacon crumbles.

Irvine, California-based Taco Bell, the nation’s leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant (QSR), recently unveiled an entirely new breakfast menu at more than 5,500 of its units from coast to coast. The rollout was described as the biggest launch in the company’s 52-year history.

TacoBell-CrunchWrapThe A.M. Crunchwrap, inspired by Taco Bell’s signature Crunchwrap Supreme, offers maximum portability and a complete breakfast solution that is “good to go.” It consists of scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, cheese and a hash brown wrapped up and grilled in a soft, flour-based tortilla, priced at $2.49.“Breakfast is the fastest growing day part in QSR, and until now, consumers have been stuck with the same old breakfast sandwich choices everywhere they turn. We intend to break the boring breakfast routine by making mornings fun again,” said Brian Niccol, president of Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Louisville, Kentucky-headquartered Yum! Brands, Inc.

No doubt those behind the expanded Taco Bell menu offerings hope to take a bite out of McDonald’s breakfast sales, which reportedly account for about 20% of the Oak Brook, Illinois-headquartered company’s annual revenues. After months of testing and receiving customer feedback, the Taco Bell breakfast menu includes the following:

  • Bacon or Sausage A.M. Crunchwrap – selling for $2.49, it features scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, a choice of bacon or a sausage patty, and a hash brown potato wrapped and grilled in a flour tortilla.
  • Bacon or Sausage Waffle Taco – menued at $1.99, it consists of a warm waffle wrapped around bacon or a sausage patty and scrambled eggs, served with a side of sweet syrup.
  • Bacon or Sausage Breakfast Burrito – priced at $1.69, it features bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs and melted cheddar cheese wrapped up in a flour tortilla.
  • Bacon or Sausage A.M. Grilled Taco – scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese and sausage or bacon folded in a grilled tortilla. Its suggested price is $1.00.
  • Cinnabon Delights – these warm, golden bite-sized pastries are filled with Cinnabon frosting and covered with Makara cinnamon sugar. Suggested prices are two for a buck; four for $1.49; and $4.49 for a 12-pack.
  • Steak & Egg Burrito – scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese and marinated premium thick-cut steak, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. It goes for $2.49.
  • Sausage Flatbread Melt – one dollar will buy this grilled flatbread item filled with a sausage patty and cheddar cheese.

Nearly every item described above shares a common element: protein.

This dovetails with a 2014 forecast by food marketing trends analyst Phil Lempert, who commented: “Consumers will look to add more protein to their first meal, to live a healthy lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence.  Look for more protein-rich and convenient breakfast options.”

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stressing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, has stated: “People who skip breakfast are unlikely to make up their daily requirement for some vitamins and minerals that a simple breakfast would have provided.”

Dollar sales of frozen breakfast hand-held products advanced 17.18% on a 13.82% unit growth rate to cross the $1 billion threshold, according to Total US Multi-Outlet (supermarkets, drug stores, mass market retailers, military commissaries, and select club and dollar retail chains) data for the 52-week period that ended on January 26, 2014, published by IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.

This was the highest percentage advance of all breakfast food categories in these outlets. Nutritional/intrinsic health value bars climbed 13.95% to $1.96 billion on a 9.67% unit gain in the same period, but other breakfast food segments registered single-digit growth or declined.