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Tips & Trends

Better-for-You Breakfasts Take Over Morning Menus

Consumers are embracing healthier, protein-packed ingredients and dishes when it comes to the morning meal.

Maximizing the Most Important Meal of the Day 

Consumers are increasingly interested in healthy, natural and “better for you” fare, and more than half of restaurant operators (54 percent) say they offer healthy options with the specific goal of driving breakfast sales, according to Technomic’s 2017 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report.

Savory Meals

Savory options are booming on breakfast menus in part because they tend to have fewer carbohydrates and less sugar than their oft-syrup-laden counterparts. They’re also a great way to highlight produce.

Currently trending savory options include vegetable frittatas and quiches, and leaner cuts of meat such as Canadian bacon. And Valerie Hoover, RD LD, Sysco’s Health and Wellness Manager, says avocado toast is (still) a huge trend. Served with poached eggs, it’s a complete meal that offers a protein punch.

Overnight Oats and Other Grains

Technomic’s MenuMonitor finds that menu mentions of overnight oats—oats soaked overnight in milk (dairy or otherwise) or water instead of being cooked—have gone up 300 percent year over year. But oats aren’t the only grain in the spotlight. Give diners the option to add grains such as quinoa or buckwheat, as well as toppings like almonds, nuts, seeds, fruits or honey, for the perfect, hearty breakfast.

Grab-and-Go Items 

Consumers are busier than ever. In fact, Technomic’s 2017 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report finds that 45 percent of consumers say that it’s important or extremely important for breakfast they order at a restaurant to be portable/easy to eat while on the go.

While the standard grab-and-go choice used to be coffee and a pastry, today’s diners might reach for a fruit cup or yogurt parfait, made with low-fat Greek yogurt and honey instead of full-fat sweetened yogurt. Bowl meals are also popular, as are hard-boiled eggs, which can be easily packaged to go.

Instagram-Worthy Eats

Finally, operators can offer healthy options that don’t just taste good—they look good, too. Smoothies and acai bowls are easy for operators to make and give diners an option for customization. They’re also practically works of art, great for getting your restaurant shared on social media.

According to Hoover, one thing’s for sure when it comes to healthy breakfast: “You want to make sure that you have a good ratio of carbohydrate and protein,” she says. “If you have a good balance to start your day, it’s going to give you the fuel you need to continue on throughout the day without the crash that sugary items can bring.”