Waffles are gaining widespread popularity for several important reasons: nostalgia and simplicity of preparation.

US Foods Holding Corp., among others, are witnessing a surge in waffle consumption and are introducing new products for retailers and foodservice operations. Operators can design family-style take-out meals to meet increased demand during the busy holiday season, and develop a new rotation of on-trend menu items to help fight menu fatigue whether diners are ordering to-go or dining in.

“Dining trends have evolved rapidly since the pandemic hit, and this holiday season is certainly no exception,” explains Stacey Kinkaid, vice president, product development and innovation, US Foods. “In fact, according to a recent US Foods survey, one in three consumers report that they plan to order more from restaurants for the upcoming holidays.”

Families are faced with less time and more responsibilities and want take-out solutions to make family feasts easier. And, at the same time, diners have been stuck in a rut and want new, wow-worthy menu options that will keep them engaged and coming back for more.

With 73% of millennials and 71% of households with children interested in ordering a holiday family-style meal to-go from restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, US Foods’ new Holiday Scoop offers a variety of family-friendly options.

One prime example is the Devonshire® Premium Belgian Chocolate Chip Waffle, made in Belgium. This waffle features Belgian chocolate chips and crunchy sugar pearls. It is as perfect for a family-style holiday brunch as it is to serve as a delectable dessert. It’s individually wrapped making it an attractive grab and go or retail offering as well.

Savory options

After gaining huge popularity at the Minnesota State Fair over the last two years and a limited grocery presence earlier this year, St. Paul-based Nordic Waffles is making a major push into the grocery scene, marking a significant shift for the business.

 A new sausage, egg and cheddar cheese waffle is being introduced at nearly all Lunds & Bylerys supermarkets, and its popular bacon, egg and cheese waffle will now be available at nearly 140 stores throughout the Upper Midwest.

The new sandwich was created in response to growing demand for its bacon “All Day Breakfast” waffle, introduced in May.

Nordic Waffles is challenging the traditional frozen waffle category with its distinct, artisanal Scandinavian style batter, comforting savory ingredients and made-by-hand quality. The growing list of regional grocery stores includes select Lunds & Byerlys, Cub Foods, Hyvee, Kowalski’s, Festival Foods and independent stores throughout western Wisconsin and outstate Minnesota.

“We saw immediate demand for the all-day breakfast waffle and knew our grocery strategy, originally scheduled for 2021, had to scale up quickly,” said Jeremy Ely, chief executive officer for Nordic Waffles. “As families continue to seek more flavorful meal solutions to enjoy at home, we moved quickly to ramp up production, reactivated furloughed staff, developed a new sandwich offering, refreshed our brand identity and packaging and worked closely with retailers to stage a full-scale grocery expansion.”