By Karen Barr
Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. According to a Statista 2019 report 58.3 per cent of all Canadians eat breakfast every day. Of that group 82 per cent eat breakfast at home, while the rest grab and go or eat breakfast at work.
About 32 per cent of consumers, according to a recent US Technomic report are opting for a second breakfast. An increase in snacking is driving up the desire for breakfast foods between the hours of mid-morning or breakfast and lunch.
As the physical fitness levels of North Americans increase, this first breakfast may represent a light pre-workout meal that may focus on carbohydrates for energy and then and protein rich second breakfast to repair muscles.
The report also states that 38 per cent of millennials enjoy breakfast any time of day, blurring the lines of tradition. Given these statistics it is no surprise that brunch is also on the rise.
While the classics remain in both ingredients and ready-made products, versions have been modernized to liven up the breakfast table, while addressing nutritional concerns.
“What you eat everyday impacts what you can do every day and it starts with breakfast,” says Nancy Howse, nutrition manager at Country Grocer Bowen Road location, in Nanaimo, British Columbia. She says customers are increasingly aware of nutrition and focusing on their health. She points out that health food staples have now become mainstream. “Quinoa is a side dish, but now it is a pseudo-cereal, because it a complete protein, with nine essential amino acids.”
When it comes to healthy fats Howse sees a trend in nuts and seeds such as: sunflower seeds (high in polyunsaturated fats), flaxseed/ flaxseed meal, chia seeds (all of which are high in omega 3 fatty acids) or almonds (high in both monounsaturated fat and omega 3 fatty acids). Customers purchase theses items to add to cereals, smoothies and more, or actively seek them out in manufactured breakfast products.
“Customers are also looking for products with added fibre to help lower cholesterol,” says Howse. This could be through a standard breakfast cereal such as traditional stove top oatmeal or in a product with inulin, a prebiotic, soluble fibre found in many plants. A major source is chicory root. “Inulin is available in juice or various cereals. The nice thing about it is it doesn’t change the flavour of the product,” she says.
“Some of the trends in the breakfast category include GMO-free and organic ingredients to bolster natural credentials,” says Milena Shillow, consumer insights lead, at Kraft Heinz Canada. “According to consumer research by Mintel, the importance of gut health has seen a boom in interest recently, with studies showing that a healthy gut is the foundation for overall wellness and a healthy immune system. This offers opportunities for cereal brands, in particular, to innovate with probiotic formulas, along with offering serving suggestions with other probiotic foods such as kefir or yogurt.”
“We are continuing to see growth in the plant-based foods area, as more consumers are adding plant alternatives into their diets,” says Julie Faber, from Manitoba Milling Company.
In fact, the company has just launched its line of flax beverages that provide 15 grams of milled flaxseed per serving. “It’s an easy-to-consume dairy alternative beverage making ideal additions to healthy breakfasts such as smoothies and overnight oats,” says Faber. Manitoba Milling Company Flax Beverages must be refrigerated and should be merchandised in the dairy section of the store.
Spreads can bump up the flavour
When it comes to morning carbohydrates Statista reports that one quarter of Canadians prefer bagels, while placing second and third respectively were the croissant and the english muffin, each garnering almost 16 per cent of consumers. Spreads are used to bump up the flavour.
“Philadelphia is the share leader in the cream cheese category, with product offerings spanning all segments: brick, soft and whipped,” says Jenna Zylber, category business director, cheese, Kraft Heinz Canada. “Soft is predominantly used for breakfast spreading on a bagel or toast and is available across 12 flavours and three sizes. Top flavours include original, herb and garlic, smoked salmon and strawberry.” Zylber adds, “Retailers should ensure optimal flavour assortment by segment and size on shelf to effectively fulfill different usage needs of consumers.”
“We’re thrilled to announce that new Kraft Chocolate Hazelnut Spread will be launching in March 2020,” says Kimia Kabiri, category business manager, Spreads & Infant, Kraft Heinz Canada. “As the leader in the spreads category, we’re delighted to bring chocolate spread lovers a recipe that has no palm oil, and is low in-saturated fat, without comprising on indulgent taste and texture. Breakfast occasions still represent the top usage for spreads, and we anticipate that Kraft Chocolate Hazelnut Spread’s recipe point of difference will reignite the chocolate spreads category.”
A report from Statistics Canada in 2015 showed the total volume of honey spiked 10.9 per cent from the year prior. Additionally, there were 34 new honey listed, mostly from organic or pure sources, but also new types including Logan, Wildflower and Manuka. Euromonitor International forecasts Canadian retail volume of honey to reach 12.07 (000) tonnes in 2020, with 172.37 million in retail sales.
“Honey has always played a big part on the breakfast table to sweeten beverages, top bagels, toast or scones and as an addition to smoothies.Ê At Bee Maid, our honey sales have increased, and we attribute that to people using more honey in their home, as well as people seeking out our brand because we are a local Canadian option,” says Shannon Bowden, senior brand and marketing manager for the company.
Bowden has merchandising suggestions as well. “Retailers could merchandise all the ingredients together for a breakfast bowl or for a tasty breakfast muffin or breakfast bar that includes honey, nuts and seeds and is packed with nutrients.”
An eggcellent idea
Canadians love their eggs. In fact, according to Egg Farmers of Canada, egg sales in Canada have been steadily increasing for 13 straight years. The Canadian population is enjoying on average 253 eggs per person per year.
Why are eggs so popular? Not only are they a source of high-quality protein, they fit into healthy eating patterns and are a nutrition powerhouse with 14 important nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron and folate,
In 2018, British Columbia egg farmers alone produced 84.8 million dozen eggs from more than approximately three million hens. There are 144 farms – all family owned, 80 per cent on which are located in the Fraser Valley, with another 10 per cent each on the Island and interior. British Columbia leads the country in cage-free production.
“BC produces four basic types of eggs: caged, free-run, free-range and organic,” explains Amanda Brittain, director of communications and marketing at BC Eggs, in Abbotsford, British Columbia. “In the caged category, we are moving away from conventional cages towards the new enriched cages which offer the hens more amenities such as nest boxes, scratch areas and perches. Then she adds, “You can also find nutritionally enhanced eggs such as eggs with extra omega 3 fatty acids or vitamin D.”
How can a retailer best position themselves to sell eggs to their customers? “We have lots of delicious recipes, as well as shelf-talkers that we’d be happy to share with retailers who want to do something different with their egg display,” says Britton.
Stack them up
Another North American favourite, especially on the weekend are stacks of fluffy pancakes. But today it may contain a whole new set of added ingredients or replacements.
Flourish Pancakes, is a young start-up company that is just under 18 months old. “The launch of our whey-based protein pancake line was a hit,” exclaims Andrew Maida, who started the business with his brother Peter. The pancake mixes are simple to make by just adding water. Flavours currently include buttermilk; chocolate or vanilla and the seasonal limited-edition pumpkin spice.
Maida adds. “In early 2020, we’re looking to serve more consumers by offering the first ever truly high protein gluten-free and vegan protein pancake mix.” Then he suggests, “I believe that merchants should prioritize their better-for-you categories for long-term success. We focus on partnering with retailers to grow this category as we grow our brand. It’s a win-win.”
At Torill’s Table, Founder Torill Myre spent years perfecting her initial waffle mix based on a traditional Norwegian recipe. The ingredient list includes whole wheat flour, oatmeal, flaxseed meal and ground almonds. Today, there is also a gluten free option and the company is working on a nut free version to be released in mid-2020.
“Consumers are eating a broader variety of breakfast foods and are embracing more creative versions of traditional foods, while focusing on the nutritional aspects, along with protein,” observes Myre. “For our nut-free version we will still provide great tradition. To maintain a good amount of protein, we have used pea-protein.” Customers should not fret if they do not have a waffle maker, the mix can also be used to whip up delicious pancakes.
At Mountain Waffle Co., Liege Style Belgian Waffles are made without any artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or additives, using Non-GMO flour, rBST milk and butter. “By making waffles from a thick dough intstead of a batter, and using higher quality ingredients, you get a much more naturally dense and flavourful waffle,” says David Solomon, company founder, owner and president.
“We add pure Canadian maple syrup and not just maple flavour to our Pure Maple Syrup & Butter waffles – the first waffle in the industry to have both butter and pure maple syrup already baked in – and Belgian dark chocolate in our chocolate varieties,” Solomon continues. “Belgian pearl sugar is also an amazing ingredient worth focusing on. When these pearl sugars hit the waffle iron, they burst and caramelize, spreading a sugary crunch throughout the waffle. They taste so good on their own that no topping is needed, and they’re also delicious whether warmed up or at room temperature.” Although a wide range of both sweet (drizzled chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, fruit, nuts, sprinkles, Nutella, or peanut butter) and savoury toppings (think beef, shrimp, pizza sauce, eggs, bacon and cheese) can also be used.
Mountain Waffle Co.’s Liege Style Belgian Waffles are available in different sizes, flavours and packaging types including freezer packs for the frozen food grocery section, bulk packed for prepared food sections or bakeries, private label versions, and individually wrapped for grab and go.
Convenience on the go
“Convenience continues to play a key role, especially for the breakfast meal occasion,” says Michelle Schmidt, marketing manager from Organic Meadows. She is quick to point out that consumers are not willing to trade off convenience for nutrition. “The drinkable yogurt category is continuing to show solid growth year-over-year, with organic drinkable yogurt representing the next big opportunity. Additionally, a growing consumer preference towards higher protein and milk fat products are challenging food companies to innovate differently in a traditional category.”
Organic Meadow recently launched a new line of Organic Yogurt Smoothies – delivering 8G protein, one billion probiotic cultures and is a source of nine essential nutrients per serving. “This product provides families with a simple way to nourish their bodies with the goodness of protein and probiotics – while at the same time delivering nine essential nutrients,” says Schmidt. As for merchandising she suggests, “Given convenience is such a key purchase driver, visibility is key. In addition to the traditional refrigerated dairy cooler, with drinkable yogurts, and secondary merchandising within the grab and go section is also recommended.”
Kind, the snack bar company, believes that if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, it just shouldn’t go into your body. Enter the company’s breakfast bar. Made from soft-baked whole grains, the bars have a crispy bite. Twinned together in a two-pack Kind Breakfast Bars comes in three flavours: Dark Chocolate Cocoa; Almond Butter or Peanut Butter. For breakfast on the run!
Breakfast is the first meal of the day offering, comfort, nutrition, energy and fuel for the day ahead. Grocers that offer both traditional and innovative ingredients and products, as well as ideas for their customers will reap rewards and financial gains from this ever growing meal category.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out the entire issues at http://westerngrocer.com/january-february-2020/