November 30/Park Ride, Ill. -- The egg experts at the American Egg Board (AEB) and Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) teamed up with trend authorities at NPD Group and Research Chef Walter Zuromski, CEC, CCE, BS, who is AEB culinary advisor, to compile the following list of top egg trends for 2013.

Protein Powerhouse
Protein at all meals, especially breakfast will be the power play of 2013. High-quality protein, found in foods like eggs, is the secret to staying fuller longer, helping people trim calories and their waistlines. In fact, several studies have shown that 25-30 grams of high-quality protein eaten at each meal may be best when it comes to maintaining healthy muscles and bones for adults. (Source: Mitch Kanter, director of Egg Nutrition Center) 

Formulators targeting those who skip breakfast or look for convenient nutritional alternatives can easily incorporate extra protein in microwaveable, portable breakfast bowls or hand-held meal solutions. Eggs contain the protein that helps satisfy hunger and as a formulary bonus, adapt to almost any type of quick-heating situation, including the freeze/thaw cycle. (Source: Walter Zuromski)

Eggs on the Go
In 2013, expect to see increased growth in the restaurant breakfast category, with quick service restaurants (QSRs) continuing to lead the way. QSRs have increased their share of breakfast overall over the past five years by 8%, and QSR egg breakfast menu items have increased by  20%. Today almost 85% of all breakfasts eaten away from home are consumed at QSRs and that means that much of the breakfast innovation that is driving consumer eating habits is bubbling up from QSRs. Families are also starting to use QSRs as family sit down restaurants, so expect to see more platters, bowls and skillet dishes rising to the top of their menus. (Source: The NPD Group/CREST®, year ending August 2012) 

Fry It Up
As the QSR breakfast boom continues, expect more chains to add fried egg creations to keep customers satisfied with new and innovative breakfast menu items. Fried egg menu items increased 20% over the past year at chains like Dunkin' Donuts and 'wichcraft. Whether at QSRs or casual dining restaurants, plan to see upgraded quality and ingredients paired with eggs like avocados, mushrooms, flavored sausages, upscale cheeses (look at Panera Bread's sausage and gouda baked egg soufflés), as well as upgraded prep techniques like toasted breads and fried eggs. (Source: Datassential Egg Menuing: Breakfast and Beyond Volume 9)  

Keep On Trucking
Food truck menu offerings with eggs will be on the rise as more and more food trucks focus on breakfast as a way to break into the category without competing in the saturated lunch day part. To differentiate themselves, these trucks are not only changing the breakfast terrain, but driving innovation. From egg sandwiches on brioche and flatbreads to meat proteins like pork belly and pulled pork being paired with eggs, to crêpes, indulgent pancakes (red velvet, maple bacon) and donuts, consumers love the culinary exploration, and so do restaurant chains, who often get their inspiration from these trucks. (Source: Datassential Egg Menuing: Breakfast and Beyond Volume 9)  

Going Global
Chefs and home cooks will continue to create innovative egg dishes using fresh vegetables, ethnic flavors and spices. In fact, Mexican-influenced preparation styles are on the rise at home, in restaurants and at QSRs. Case in point: the Chorizo and Egg Tortas from celebrity chef Rick Bayless' newest restaurant XOCO, and Taco Bell's breakfast debut with the Grande Skillet Burrito and its AM Crunchwrap. Bruegger's Bagels has added a Santa Fe Sandwich with eggs, sausage and jalapeño cream cheese on a bagel. (Source: Datassential Egg Menuing: Breakfast and Beyond Volume 9) 

 Natural Functionality
Egg products offer food formulators 20-plus functions, ranging from nutritional to physical to sensory to shelf life. Egg functionality is complemented by the fact that egg products are all natural and help maintain a clean label. Consumers desire foods with recognizable ingredients on the label and respond well to ingredients that they can find in their own kitchen. (Source: Walter Zuromski)

Labeling Luminary
With front-of-pack labeling, manufacturers have just a brief chance to promote their concept and message amidst heavy competition from other manufacturers who have reformulated to create a better-for-you version of a new or existing product. Egg ingredients help create positive on-pack messages especially to keep trans fats at zero or indicate a higher protein content. (Source: Walter Zuromski)