Wake up to brilliant breakfasts and brunches

Breakfast’s status as the most important meal of the day has been serving it well of late. From cereal cafés to bottomless brunches, the breakfast market is booming with Britons spending £13billion a year. In less than 10 years, the number of weekend breakfast visits has increased by 20% and eating breakfast out of home is now an established habit, with 49% of the population doing so at least twice a month. In years gone by breakfast out of home was the reserve of hotels and cafes, but other venues are getting in on this lucrative act, with pubs and restaurants opening their doors in the morning to welcome diners.

Fast facts

  • Women aged over 45 are most likely to look for breakfast low in sugar. This sector is set to grow 4.4% in the next four years
  • Older consumers are more likely to choose something high in fibre, reflected in their higher than average use of porridge
  • Products that are high in protein and contain superfoods are rated by young consumers (16-35s) at breakfast time

All-day breakfasts Students are blurring the lines when it comes to breakfast and university caterers are seeing growing demand to see it on the menu throughout the day. The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO)’s recent Global Food Trends Report identified two key breakfast trends for this year – the Hybrid Breakfast and Breakfast 24/7. Matt White, chair of TUCO and director of catering, hotel and conference services at the University of Reading, explains: “From indulgent delights to fusions favourites, consumers are abandoning traditional breakfast rules in favour of a ‘what you like, when you like’ style of eating – which means people are ordering everything from waffles to doughnuts and burgers for breakfast. The time to eat breakfast is also changing, no longer does it have to be your morning meal – with our 24/7 culture we’re seeing a rise in all day breakfast options. There’s no such thing as a taboo time for this meal occasion – so bring on the eggs benedict at midnight!”

Breakfast on the go 30% of Out of Home breakfast diners eat on the go with hot rolls and patisserie being popular choices. Cakes are rarely eaten for breakfast but muffins with healthy inclusions, added protein and reduced sugar are becoming more popular, offering convenience and health benefits to those eating on the go. Granola bars and single-serve porridge pots are another healthy option which people will grab on the way to work. “Grab and go items which cater across the morning and into the afternoon are perfect for secondary schools and fit into the way students prefer to dine,” suggests Brian Eastment, Major’s executive development chef. “From serving breakfast burritos or sarnies infused with a sumptuous applewood and hickory smoke or a kick of spicy fajita to savoury or sweet baked products like muffins are all perfect contenders for breakfast morning snacks and can even make it through to lunch.”

Be a fruit and nut-case One of the food sectors which interacts heavily with breakfast cereals is the fruit, nut and seed sector as people seek to find ways to add flavour but more importantly health benefits to their breakfast of choice. Breakfast cereals is one of the most important complementary foods with porridge oats the key partner as many people use their favourite fruit, nuts and seeds as toppers in the morning to introduce a greater level of functional health to their breakfast. With so many superfoods coming from this sector such as goji berries, cranberries, almonds, walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds, it offers a great way for breakfast menus and occasions to be enriched and made more appealing in a natural way. For a breakfast packed with protein, fibre and nutrients, Sosa development chef Sam Rain has created strawberry almond milk quinoa with dried cranberries and freeze dried strawberries and raspberries (full recipe at www.stiritupmagazine.co.uk/recipes).

Let’s do brunch Brunch as a meal occasion was unheard of 10 years ago – but it is now big business. Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of foodservice UK, explains: “Some 16% of breakfast occasions away from home occur at the relatively late time of between 10am and 11am, meaning that lunch for some might then become just a quick bite of something light that people bring from home. In that case, they would skip buying their lunch from outside. So as breakfast away from home grows, especially if this happens later in the morning, there is a danger breakfast will cannibalise lunch business. That’s a trend foodservice operators should watch.” It therefore makes good sense for operators to stock and offer items on their menus that are versatile and perfect for a range of meal occasions throughout the day, says Gordon Lauder, MD of Central Foods. “Items like crumpets, waffles and pancakes are not only ideal for brunch, they can also be served at other times of the day too. They can be topped with a range of different ingredients and flavours, which makes them very versatile. “They also tap into one of the trends for 2017 – comfort food. It’s known as the taste of yesterday trend, providing memories of childhood, and in these uncertain political times, it’s a trend that’s going down well in foodservice.” Kenneth Axen, MD of Futura Foods, suggests adding halloumi cheese to a brunch salad to mix up ingredient combinations and keep things fresh – or sandwich between wholemeal bread and an egg for the perfect vegetarian equivalent of a bacon bap.

Breakfast and brunch cracked A main ingredient to offer on a loaded dish is an egg option; scrambled, boiled, or poached they’re all packed full of protein and with egg consumption up 18% this year, this will keep brunch menus on trend. Use an on vogue multi-seeded or sourdough bloomer, like those from Kara, to create indulgent bacon, egg and avocado sandwiches or a gourmet open brunch sandwich, which can be served with scrambled egg, smashed avocado and topped with smoked salmon. Drawing inspiration from Mexico to the Middle East, eggs are being overhauled and given a new lease of life, says Fergus Martin, Major Development Chef. “Why not try incorporating a huevos rancheros, with a kick of Major Fajita or Piri Piri Mari Base, or a vegetarian Mediterranean or Moroccan infused Shakshuka alongside your traditional brunch menu? Or a grab and go Mexican scrambled egg fajita breakfast burrito as a spicier option for your grab and go?”

Preserve your reputation Emma Macdonald, founder of The Bay Tree, advises: Toast and pastries are classic breakfast items and tasty toppings or fillings are a simple way to introduce customisation. Unusual flavours can be an early morning wake up call. Consider jams or marmalades with added alcohol, or luxurious all butter curds. Deliver seasonal all year round. As autumn arrives, consumers can personalise a hearty bowl of porridge with a dollop of their favourite preserve. Visual appeal is key to buffet style offerings. A stack of single serve jars can build a colourful yet cohesive display to wow customers with!

Flavour Forecast McCormick’s Flavour Forecast 2017 predicted breakfast options with big, global flavours would be sought after by a generation of flavour adventurists this year. Steve Love recommends: “Try warm, sweet congee; traditionally served savoury, the Far East’s creamy rice porridge takes an unexpected turn with exotic rice varieties, warm spices and fruit juices. Top with mango, coconut or a balsamic drizzle and more!” On-trend sorghum grain bowls – an ancient whole grain native to Africa which is mildly nutty in taste with a hearty texture – are delicious paired with plant-based milks and aromatic cinnamon and ginger, or, for a walk on the wide side of breakfast, opt for a Middle Eastern-inspired breakfast hash – tender chickpeas, ground lamb or beef and roasted vegetables seasoned with a blend of coriander, cumin and fennel – topped with a spicy skhug (pronounced shug) sauce.