Consumers’ relationship with breakfast is changing as the line between meals and snacks continues to blur. Roughly one-fourth of consumers snack in the morning instead of eating a full meal, according to a new report by Packaged Facts.
At Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, savory pastries are flying off the shelves. Items like ham and cheese croissants are as popular in the morning when the Soho bakery opens at 8 a.m. as in the evening when it closes it at 7 p.m.
The acclaimed pastry chef Dominique Ansel uses signage to communicate the freshness of these savory pastries throughout the day: “Baked at 8 a.m., discard at 12 p.m. Baked at 12 p.m., discard at 4 p.m. Baked at 4 p.m., discard at 7 p.m.” To keep the menu fresh, they’re baking at least three times a day.
Another popular treat at his bakery is the “Perfect Little Egg Sandwich,” which features a fluffy egg and gruyere cheese on a mini brioche bun. The mini sandwiches sell for $6.50 apiece.
Marketing breakfast items that are ideal for snacks, which younger consumers are especially likely to order breakfast for between-meal occasions, can drive incremental sales between breakfast and dinner, according to new research from Technomic.
Vegetables in particular show room for growth on breakfast menus, as do other healthful options including seasonal fruit, grains and cereals.
Snack makers should be studying the snacking behaviors of millennials, according to consumer insight firm Canadean. Its most recent study reveals 41 percent of those aged 18-24 and 44 percent of those aged 25-34 regularly snack between meals.
“While it is important for brands to acknowledge and address the snacking needs of all consumers, it is particularly crucial to understand the motivations of younger consumers,” says Katrina Diamonon, principal consumer insight analyst for Canadean. “Not only are they more frequent snackers, but their purchase behaviors and preferences will strongly influence other current consumers and also subsequent generations as they pass on these traits to their children.”
Despite the fact that breakfast continues to be the most skipped meal of the day, breakfast has been a bright spot in the industry in recent years. Consumers’ increasingly fast-paced lifestyles, growing interest in morning fare at nontraditional times and extended all-day breakfast programs are fueling the trend.
Among consumers who now purchase breakfast away from home more often than they did a year ago, the majority (60 percent) report cutting back on other daypart purchases as a result, according to Technomic research.
Waffles & Biscuits
At Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter in Chicago, Liege waffles are a versatile specialty item that can serve as a breakfast food or dessert because of the sweet taste. Classic Liege waffles are coated in caramelized sugar.
Other bakeries and food shops are taking “waffle mania” to new heights.
“Waffles are the new tortilla," says owner Nga Huynh, who opened Santa Clara, California, bakery Butter & Zeus in 2013. Her shop offers 24 waffle sandwiches, including savory and sweet options.
The Loco Moco waffle features a hamburger patty with two fried eggs topped with gravy, while the Nutella & Bananas waffle includes banana slices over a chocolate-hazelnut spread topped with powdered sugar. Savory waffles sell for $7.99 to $8.99, while the confection waffles sell for $5.99 apiece.
Biscuit sandwiches are also being reinvented in today’s anything-goes environment. The Reggie at Pine State Biscuits in Portland, Oregon, consists of fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy. “The biscuit is amazingly versatile, so we decided to center our concept on it and marry it with the incredible bounty here in the Pacific Northwest,” says Brian Snyder, partner at Pine State Biscuits.
In May 2006, Pine State Biscuits began serving their unique version of regionally inspired southern cuisine at the Portland Farmer’s Market. By the end of the first market season, according to the owners, Pine State Biscuits had a loyal following of eager customers waiting in lines 30 deep to get their hands on steaming biscuits, sausage gravy and buttermilk breaded chicken. Since that time, the business has expanded to four locations in all.