Healthy protein cookies, or smaller servings of indulgent treats?
By Jane Dummer
Breakfast has evolved from an early morning dish to grab-and-go snacks or all-day meals. In 2018 we observed consumers loving quick, easy and nutritious breakfast choices like overnight oats and high protein breakfast cookies. Social media is flooded with breakfast from the iconic avocado toasts to innovative, healthy pancakes for the grab-and-go market.
Joel Gregoire, Associate Director, Canada Food and Drink analyst at Mintel agrees; “When innovating breakfast it’s important to remember what Canadians look for. The morning is about portability, health and energy, according to our research. As more Canadians lead an on-the-go lifestyle, formats that address this need have a better chance of resonating with consumers. Furthermore, when asked about what they’re interested in eating at breakfast — in a report on breakfast we published in 2016 — the top two areas of interest were foods high in fibre and foods high in protein. Beyond that, we also saw that consumers wanted to limit their sugar intake. For the bakery industry, this means they have to innovate to consumer demands in order to drive growth. For example, keto cookies with the focus on protein and fat content can address well-entrenched demands that consumers have in the occasion.”
Innovation in the all day breakfast category does not need to be groundbreaking. Small changes can make a big difference. Rebekah Schouten via BakingBusiness.com describes, “When the two trends of breakfast and snacking collide, a ‘tremendous’ opportunity for food service operators appears — one that could drive traffic and pique consumer interest, according to a collaborative report indicating operators are learning that marrying breakfast with snacks is a recipe for success.
“Further, breakfast snacks fit into consumers’ demanding on-the-go lifestyles that leave little time for traditional sit-down meals. Larger industry trends, such as the growth of all-day and second breakfasts, also showcase the need for more breakfast snacks at restaurants. Not only do consumers react favourably to the breakfast snacks concept, but 54 per cent said they would like to see more of them on restaurant menus.
“66 per cent of Millennials are the most likely group to seek snackable breakfast items on menus, with Gen Z and Gen X following close behind, both at 59 per cent. Consumers are most likely to purchase fruit at least sometimes, with 66 per cent saying they do so, the report said. Other lighter breakfast snacks purchased occasionally include cereal (53 per cent) yogurt (45 per cent) and oatmeal (41 per cent.) However, indulgent offerings are still sought out by many. Fifty-three per cent of consumers said they occasionally purchase breakfast sandwich snacks, 51 per cent opt for donuts, 48 per cent buy bagels and 46 per cent purchase hash browns.”
Miniaturizing indulgent breakfast mainstays such as muffins, danishes and quiches may allow bakers to position these items as snacks even for the health conscious consumer. We have seen at McDonald’s with their Mini Chocolatine as an option against oversized muffins and danishes. Smaller items often resonate as snack food, such as muffin tops, pancake balls, and French toast sticks are all examples of how to turn well-loved breakfast foods into smaller bites.
According to Anne Brice’s article Fashionably Late, “Stuart New, head of bakery at Rich Products, says sweet bakery goods must be really good to stand up to scrutiny, as consumers don’t want to waste a breakfast treat on a product that isn’t up to scratch. Muffins and cinnamon buns are a portable, easy and ever popular option. With the rise of all-day breakfasting, these products are also a good option for caterers, as they work well across all day parts, meaning a reduction in menu complexity and waste. With muffins and cookies showing strong signs of growth, we want to elevate these products to a higher level so that we’re focused on innovation and provenance.”
Finding the right balance of healthy and indulgent doesn’t have to be challenge. With consumers’ snacking demands, flexible eating occasions and the rise of the all-day- breakfast, there is ample opportunity for bakers and bakeries to make small changes to their current line-up and innovate with trending ingredients into 2019.
Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America. www.janedummer.com