BBQ beef, sriracha, and kale salad. These flavors are typically found on the lunch and dinner menu, but don’t count them out for breakfast. Breakfast has become an important mealpart for the foodservice and retail consumer packaged goods sectors. Moreover, there’s an opportunity for manufacturers to continue to expand the daypart by experimenting and introducing new tastes.

Consumers are eager for quality breakfasts. According to Datassential’s “2016 Keynote Report: Breakfast,” 80% of consumers say they’ve eaten breakfast within the past day. They tend to eat breakfast at home, usually with convenient preparations such as ready-to-eat or frozen items. Marketing new flavors and concepts is an easier sell for consumers if you offer them in products or formats that they are already familiar with, or what Datassential calls “safe experimentation” (ex. adding an ethnic flavor like kim chee to a breakfast sandwich). 

Many consumer packaged goods companies already are testing new concepts with items such as breakfast enchiladas, new types of yogurts that add a savory spin, and high-protein products. Many examples can be found in Datassential’s new Creative Concepts publication that dives into retail breakfast ideas. 

Consumers also are looking for breakfast items that are considered healthy, nutritious, and functional to fuel the most important meal of the day. In fact, many consumers today equate “healthy” with “functional.” They want foods that provide protein and energy, support health, and are filling.

Datassential recently released a list of 10 flavor trends to watch for in 2018. Three of these foods could add a healthy halo to retail breakfast offerings.

Whey: This high-protein cheese byproduct can be easily added to breakfast meals, smoothies, and grains. Forty-five percent of consumers are interested in trying protein-rich, energy-boosting breakfast foods. 

Seeds: Seeds can pack nutrition, rich flavor, and texture into many packaged breakfast items, from breakfast bars to hot and cold cereals and beyond.

Labneh: Like Greek yogurt, this creamy strained yogurt could be marketed for breakfast or incorporated into an item. 

Beyond health and functionality, consumers like to explore new flavors and will even try ethnic flavors at breakfast. In fact, more than 40% of consumers are interested in Mexican breakfasts. Some of the fastest-growing Mexican dishes and flavors (beyond burritos and huevos rancheros) for breakfast include pozole (up over 300% on U.S. breakfast menus in 2016), cajeta cheese, chipotle sauce, and tostadas.

Middle Eastern foods are another opportunity for retail breakfast companies to find inspiration. For example, shakshuka is a breakfast of eggs poached in a tomato sauce flavored with chili, peppers, onion, cumin, and other spices. 

Retail breakfast makers also could explore foods found on lunch and dinner menus. Some of these flavors include kale and kale salad (perfect for promoting the healthy side of a product), BBQ pulled pork, pork belly, and even smoked trout.

Originally appeared in the February, 2018 issue of Prepared Foods as Better Breakfasts.