Tuesday, 2nd January, 2018

Choose Breakfast

Some may say we have the avocado to thank for the continuing popularity of the out of home 'breakfast occasion', a fashionable addition to a slab of sourdough, accentuated by a perfectly poached egg. Pretty as a picture, quite literally, if the millions of images carrying the hashtag 'breakfast' on photo sharing site Instagram are anything to go by. A tag that averages over 66 million uploads per day.

Inexpensive in comparison to a lunch choice - and more often than not healthier - breakfast has evolved more than any other meal. Constantly adapting to keep up with consumer demand, from the smallest cafe to the largest chain. Breakfasts are tastier, more filling and are continuing to push the boundaries of the incredibly diverse food service industry.

“Breakfast is turning out to be a transient meal, in line with the blurring of boundaries for all meal times,” says Stuart Jackson of Pan ‘Artisan, UK manufacturers of artisan bread products.

“Mintel statistics show 53% of consumers now eat an out-of-home breakfast or a grab-and-go lunch with 25% of consumers doing so at least once a week. Lunch remains the largest meal occasion but breakfast is hot on its heels, demonstrating demand.

In fact a Kantar Worldpanel report shows breakfast occasions to have risen by 0.7% over the past year to 2.1billion, with carried out breakfasts showing growth of 1.8%. “However, the expected breakfast favourites such as ready-to-eat cereals show a decline in growth with a £39.1 million loss,” adds Stuart.

International Influences

American breakfast trends have also made their mark on the great British breakfast and many American- and Canadian - themed brands have established themselves at the heart of British breakfast culture.  After all America is synonymous with breakfast, whether it’s a stack of pancakes dripping in syrup or a bacon and waffle concoction, loaded with big flavours and even bigger visual impact. 

Take Moose Coffee for example an American themed coffee hangout that has made a big impact on the UK QSR scene. Offering an American diner experience to the people of Liverpool and Manchester their espresso fuelled breakfast menu is home to 27 different breakfast options, featuring eggs every which way, tortillas, gourmet chipolata sausage, French toast, griddled chicken and sweet brioche - to name but a few.

‘We grew from a love of American breakfast culture’ they say, and with seven - yes seven - different types of eggs benedict to choose from it’s clear to see where Moose Coffee lay their hat.


Ultimately attitudes to breakfast are changing and according to Statista the share of British adults who ‘rarely have time to eat a proper breakfast’ has fallen by nearly 10% in the last 12 years – and with breakfast now extending into lunchtime (as brunch), there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of the changing landscape. 
Popular breakfast hangout Black Milk did just this, after opening a small unit in Affleck’s Palace situated in the heart of Manchester’s trend-led Northern Quarter, owners Andy Young and Oliver Taylor unveiled a relatively new concept to the UK – the cereal café. Opening just weeks after London’s ‘Cereal Killer Café’, they offered 50 varieties of cereal and a whole host of unusual milk choices to go alongside – including Squid Ink and Salted Caramel – the duo soon moved to bigger premises and even took on their first franchisee in no time.

Andy told Food Franchise Magazine last year: “We set ourselves out at the premium end of the market, and see little to no competition in this sub-segment of the market.

“Our growth has been averaging in double digit percentage points each month since opening, giving us total confidence there is plenary of room for expansion and growth.  We value growing at a sustainable pace above all else. Black Milk will be here for many years to come.”

With cereal still one of the most popular Breakfast choices in Britain -despite experiencing a decline in favour- cereal out-of-home has worked out well for Black Milk, and incorporating an extensive coffee and breakfast menu with a twist has helped fuel their expansion. 


How can businesses tap into the breakfast market and add value to their offering?

“Food on the go is the most successful and rapidly growing sector of the dining market, with breakfast capturing a large share of that,” says Stuart Jackson of Pan A’rtisan. “Consider an all-day breakfast offering, with options of hot and cold items.

“Improving availability, choice, variety and quality are good staring points along with awareness of food trends and addressing the needs of those with food intolerances.”

Meals deals are also proving a popular enticement to this daypart, and Stuart recommends perhaps offering a free hot drink in conjunction with the purchase of bakery items, or a loyalty scheme for returning customers.

A range of accompaniments, fillings and toppings can also enhance the breakfast experience suggests Emma Macdonald of chutneys, preserves and sauce manufacturer The Bay Tree.  “Jams and preserves are a great addition to bakery products. Try offering The Bay Tree’s Lemon Marmalade with Gin and Lime with toast or pancakes and tap into the current gin trend,” adds Emma. “Alternatively, Strawberry and Orange Marmajam is great on porridge.”

International flavours can also add a tasty twist to breakfast classics. South American inspired smoky chipotle or Asian accompaniments, such as garlic pickle, work particularly well. Emma says; “Add extra oomph to bacon and sausage with sweet chilli jam or jazz up a stack of savoury bacon pancakes by adding mango and ginger chutney with cumin seeds.

“Finishing touches like these give a nod to global cuisine to keep your brunch menu on trend. The Bay Tree’s catering range of best-selling accompaniments is available in 3kg tubs and single serve jars – perfect for stacking at the till.”

With time pressures on consumers only growing, the business of serving breakfast is becoming ever more complicated, as Jon Turonnet of Brioche Pasquier elaborates. “More people than ever are eating breakfast outside the home, but in so many different ways.

“Outlets are catering for those who want to stop for a cooked meal, others who will have a wrap or a pastry with a coffee in-house, or increasingly, those who simply want to grab and eat on the go. With so many eating breakfast on the run it is important for outlets to offer a variety of options so that those who don’t want to stop to enjoy their breakfast have a choice that suits their lifestyle,” adds Jon.

“That means considering not only the food product itself but whether it can be easily transported, how can it be temporarily stored in a bag or pocket and whether the product can be eaten with ease and minimum mess.”


And with 63% of consumers loving desserts (Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report) it is no different for those consumers on the lookout for breakfast options. “With the time-pressed nature of today’s consumers, they are looking for options they can pick to take with them on the go,” says Anna Sentence of Belgian chocolate brand Callebaut.  “Whether it be grabbing a quick croissant on their way to the office or a selection of chocolate muffins for a work meeting, grab and go options need to be available.

Anna also advises grabbing the opportunity to add a meal deal option - to add value to your offering. “Offer consumers a croissant filled with Callebaut real chocolate sauce or a personalised breakfast waffle to go, drizzled with Callebaut real chocolate sauce, and a hot or cold beverage.

“With a personalised waffle option, ensure your staff are trained to engage with customers and find out their preferences to help offer them their perfect breakfast option.”

Explorative Tastes

The ‘café culture’ that exists today has also become an integral part of our society. It has strongly boosted the hot beverages market and definitely contributed to the ever-expanding breakfast market as Tom Noonan, Senior Brand Manager for DaVinci Gourmet explains;  “With a seemingly endless increase in consumers’ explorative tastes, ensuring that operators are meeting the needs of the ever-growing speciality beverage industry is vital, and operators that tap into the latest beverage and flavour trends will thrive by delivering a diverse and varied offering to their customers at breakfast and beyond.

“The increased focus on the importance of health and wellbeing is rising constantly and consistently, with consumers and operators paying increasingly close attention to the ingredients and nutritional contents of their food and drink choices.”

Specifically at breakfast according to Tom as this is where consumers have the intention to start their day off with a ‘better for you’ lifestyle in mind.  “Operators should ensure they offer beverage menu items to suit a range of consumer needs,” says Tom. 

“DaVinci Gourmet’s range of flavoured syrups has been re-formulated to become the largest brand free-from artificial colours and flavours, so operators can rest assured they are providing customers with exciting and delicious drinks that are full of natural flavours.”

As well as the health conscious mind-set of consumers today, consumers are becoming increasingly discerning in their purchases, so capitalising on the desire to try new flavours is important. Tom says: “Consumers consistently report that they want to indulge, especially when out of home.

“Looking beyond traditional and standard beverages and introducing variety to a breakfast drinks menus is sure to increase consumer interest.”

DaVinci Gourmet offers the full beverage solution; enabling operators to create beverages ranging from espresso based hot drinks, hot chocolates, smoothies, and teas in endless flavour combinations.


It’s no secret that out of home breakfast and brunch sales are booming. The number of breakfast occasions have increased by 8.4 per cent to 1.14 billion year-on-year, according to NPD Crest research, and growth shows no sign of decline with a rise of 31% in spend at breakfast out of home making the total value of the breakfast time occasion out of home £20.2bn.

Marshall Kingston of Tetley Tea says; “Insight shows that consumers are more likely to drink tea with breakfast than any other hot beverage. Catering to consumer needs in the morning period is essential to operators looking to capitalise on the growing breakfast market.

“Breakfast is an important day part when it comes to hot beverages – if not the most important, and Tetley’s Breakfast Guide offers menu ideas that all pair perfectly with a different Tetley blend.”

Mohammed Essa, of catering potatoes supplier Aviko, adds; “It’s also important to consider plate fill when creating breakfast menus in order to maximise profits while still giving customers good value for money. Aviko’s Hash Browns, for example, are 63g versus the market standard of approximately 50g, meaning improved plate-fill and, as a result, improved profits.

“With 80% of people thinking that there aren’t currently enough gluten-free cooked breakfast choices, while 54% believe vegetarian options are lacking, special diets prove another opportunity for operators. The growth in special diets such as gluten-free means it’s essential that operators offer suitable menu options to increase traffic through the door and maximise profit.

“Our Hash Browns and Hash Brown Bites are not only suitable for vegetarians, they are also gluten-free, helping operators tap into the growing market, while giving peace of mind that they appeal to coeliac suffers and non-sufferers alike,” adds Mohammed. “This demonstrates a huge opportunity to ensure hash browns are a staple of any breakfast and brunch menu.”

Staff Training

Investing in staff training will not only help promote your offer, but also ensure you get the most out of your investment in beverage equipment. Neil Clark co-founder of hot drinks specialists Hessian Coffee says; “The coffee journey takes over five years of careful nurturing from the seed to the cup; yet it’s all too easy to ruin the drink in the final 30 seconds of preparation.

“That’s why you need to invest in staff training because a good barista will ensure the best possible result from the coffee. They’ll understand extraction times and grind sizes, will be able to foam the milk correctly and will be able to serve the drink just as your customers expect.

“They’ll minimise your wastage, maintain stocks, keep the production area clean and workable, and carry out preventative maintenance on your equipment.
At Hessian Coffee they believe that staff training and education is so important for your business that they offer it to their customers free of charge and on your own site. “This ensures that you’ll be able to consistently deliver the highest quality drinks for your customers,” says Neil.  “Which will keep them coming back for more, time after time.”

What are the latest breakfast food trends?

Continental bakery products are increasingly popular in the breakfast market and operators need to provide high quality take away products to cater for this demand. A filling and tasty breakfast choice, a bakery product can be enjoyed on the spot or picked up and taken away to eat in the car or while walking.

“The most popular authentic French baked products can be difficult and time consuming to make from fresh so quality products which are ready baked and easy to serve offer an excellent alternative,” says Jon Turonnet. 

“Brioche Pasquier bakers use traditional recipes and methods to create products which deliver the true taste of France. This expertise ensures that their ready baked products offer a real quality alternative to fresh baked products.”

In fact Kantar states that morning goods such as continental bakery items are on the rise, appearing at 3.5% more breakfast occasions over the past year. “Of the bread and baked goods that are enjoying success, premium and speciality breads are top of the game,” adds Jon. 

“According to Kantar Worldpanel, sales of brown bread have risen 13.3%, on volumes up 14.8%.  The report also highlights the preferred choice of consumers, ‘sandwich alternatives have grown by 4.8% and bakery favourites by 3.3%. Rolls are also making a comeback with sales up 5.1%.”

In keeping with the emerging and growing trend for versatile, food-on-the-go and casual dining options, and taking into consideration the merging of meal time occasions, Pan’Artisan offers a range of Artisan Speciality Breads, perfectly suited to several different day parts and service styles, whether take out, snack or full service, but especially breakfast.

Stuart Jackson says; “The bread stick selection is akin to what is commonly found on the continent, caters to many styles of service and offers an adaptable and easy to use product; great as a morning snack with coffee.

“From The Artisan Speciality Bread range, and particularly suited as breakfast choices, are the Multi Cereal bread stick; light in texture, rich in aroma and flavour, providing a perfect breakfast bread or snack; for a naturally sweet alternative to croissants or pastries try the Mini Raisin bread.

The mid-morning meal of brunch often kick-starts the weekend for many younger consumers in particular and offers a chance to indulge in a more lavish version of breakfast.

Pan Artisan suggest looking to global cuisines for inspirational brunch dishes – consumers are craving authenticity where world foods are concerned. “Present trends include Northern African and Middle Eastern dishes such as Shakshouka – a dish of tomatoes, eggs, peppers and onions and similar South American huevos rancheros.”

Stuart adds; “These more exotic menu items are a hit with the Millennial set and as our younger generations become more familiar with world foods, menus are likely to reflect that in the future.”

International flavours are a great way to entice customers to your breakfast offering as strong tastes and textures are becoming increasingly popular. Aine Melichar, Brand Manager at Kerrymaid says; “Filling your breakfast burrito with scrambled egg, avocado, red pepper and spinach seasoned with paprika and turmeric is a great breakfast alternative with a spicy Mexican twist, that is a healthy, easy to eat on the go option. Cheese is a great topping or filling for any breakfast bagel, sandwich or burrito.

The expansion of the breakfast into the brunch has also offered operators a new opportunity to upsell sophisticated dishes such as eggs benedict and other brunch choices. “The Kerrymaid range of ready to use sauces offers both Hollandaise and Béchamel choices to allow chefs to focus on creating menus rather than sauces,” explains Aine.  “Tasting as good as a freshly made sauce, the portfolio allows a wider range of chefs than ever to capitalise on the growing brunch trend.”

Highly Versatile

Coffee is the biggest beverage category out of home, driven by consumers’ increasingly explorative tastes and raised expectations. Across the UK, many consumers want to enjoy coffee without its natural bitterness, especially younger people, and as a result look for a sweeter taste. Tom Noonan says that introducing the option of flavour combinations to a speciality beverage offer is essential for those operators looking to keep up with the trends.

“Tea is highly versatile, and this has led to an increase in its rate of consumption, with tea now accounting for just over one-quarter (27%) of all OOH hot beverage servings in Britain (NPD Group 2016).

“As well as tea being a healthy and hydrating beverage, consumers also favour tea for its indulgent factor. Complex and inventive tastes and essences are becoming ever more apparent.”

Tom adds; “Matcha, acai and hibiscus are all on the rise and through adding interesting flavour combinations to their menus, operators will ensure to entice different consumer taste buds. Mid-winter, a delicious Camomile, Honey & Ginger Soother is the perfect pick-me-up.”

For those looking for a healthier and less caffeine-fuelled start to the day, tea is the perfect alternative to coffee for breakfast. And according to tea manufacturer Novus Tea, English breakfast tea is still the most popular choice but, with consumers realising the potential health benefits of teas, other choices are growing strongly - including green teas, fruit and herbal teas, and speciality blends like matcha.

Matcha contains the same healthy and nutritional properties as tea but, because you’re ingesting the whole of the leaf rather than just an infusion of the leaf, you’re benefiting from a much higher proportion of these antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Green teas are also a really popular healthy choice say Novus Tea.  But for customers less experienced in drinking green tea, why not try a ‘cross-over’ product such as ‘Eight Secrets’. This is a rich blend that combines eight different types of green and white tea with additional fruity flavours to create a full-bodied, flavoursome and refreshing drink.

This is ideal for encouraging drinkers of black tea to take their first steps into the world of green tea; it’s a stronger, fuller-bodied blend which offers more punch than traditional green teas, making it more akin to an English breakfast tea. The drink is also perfect for experienced green tea drinkers looking for something a bit different.

Hand-crafted Beverages

With over £76 million spent on breakfast per day (Beacon) and one in three eating breakfast out-of-home at least once a week (as many as 14% do so every day) the potential in the breakfast arena is huge.  One of the biggest draws to any eatery are its hot beverage offerings and a selection of perfectly crafted lattes, strong and silky espressos or fresh and fruity teas continue to appeal. 

Neil Clark of Hessian Coffee says; “In terms of the coffee you serve, many of our customers rely on a choice of just two of our roasted coffees to suit their customers’ tastes.

“Both of these coffees are available as whole beans or pre-ground for filter. Espresso No1 is a 100% Arabica blend of the finest coffees from Central and South America, giving sweetness and body for a bright citrus finish and rounded profile and Bourbon Select is Hessian’s Great Taste Award-winning single-origin coffee.”

It’s not just about the blend however, fast service is essential at any daypart - but particularly breakfast time considering the needs of time-pressed customers.  Neil says; “Bearing in mind you might need to cater for those sitting down for a leisurely cup of coffee, as well as those looking to ‘grab and go’, you’ll probably need to consider two different serving methods.

“Perhaps a traditional espresso machine alongside a filter machine. The espresso-based coffee menu takes a little longer for the serve, but will deliver consistently excellent flat whites, lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos. The filter method is ideal for really fast service, giving great results when brewed fresh and held for as short a time as possible.”

What packaging solutions are available to allow operators to cater for the demand for breakfast on-the-go?

The out of home breakfast opportunity is being driven by consumers’ increasingly busy lifestyles and catering to these purchase opportunities is essential for operators looking to capitalise on the growing on the go market.

“The Tetley On-The-Go range has been specially developed for time-pressured and on the move customers, offering a complete solution for efficient takeaway tea service,” says Marshall Kingston.  “On the Go cups reduce fuss, spillages and mess; some of the most common tea to go complaints.”

The range prevents this as it includes branded cups with double-walls for better insulation, as well as sip-lids and drip-free drawstring tea bags – “Creating a complete solution for breakfast tea service,” adds Marshall.

As manufacturers of individually wrapped breakfast pastries Brioche Pasquier produce a product that is particularly helpful to those who want to enjoy their breakfast in their own time. “Each of our Pain au Chocolat come neatly wrapped in a clear packet which can be popped into a bag or pocket to transport safely and hygienically,” says Jon Turonnet.

“From the outlets’ point of view, offering individually wrapped products helps to reduce waste and ensure freshness.”

Being individually wrapped, Pain au Chocolat are perfect as part of a quick and easy breakfast offering complete with a freshly brewed coffee, and are great for those customers looking for a ‘grab n’ go’ option. “They also make a good mid-morning treat with a pot of tea or just a snack for those looking to take time out and enjoy a break,” adds Jon.

In terms of equipment what does a QSR/Food to go business need to have to ensure they can offer a breakfast menu?

As the UK’s largest supplier of catering equipment Nisbets has been providing equipment for foodservice for over 30 years.  Martin Brown, Brand Manager of the Rowlett range of toaster ovens, discusses the latest innovation to appear for caterers looking to streamline their breakfast service. 

“Recent research shows that toast remains the single most popular breakfast item overall with consumers, with the vast array of healthier and speciality bread options now on the market leading to an increase in its popularity with the health conscious, making it a must have for any breakfast or brunch menu.

“Toast is a perfect sweet or savoury grab and go choice for those who would prefer an alternative to a croissant, cereal bar or yoghurt, and is, of course, a vital part of many Instagram-friendly on-trend breakfasts, such as “Cloud Eggs” on Toast, made with whisked egg whites,” explains Martin. 

But whether an operator is preparing Organic Avocado Toast with Feta, Citrus and Mint, or a humble classic such as Beans on Toast, what’s crucial is that operators have the appropriate commercial toaster to cope with inevitable demand.

“The award-winning Rowlett range includes the colourful Regent Toaster collection which comes in various sizes to allow operators to easily achieve toasting perfection time and time again! Operators can choose from 2 (DL276), 4 (DL277), 6 (DL278), 8 (DL279) and 12 (CF659) slot models, all featuring an attractive stainless steel top and durable powder-coated body.

“Perfect for use within a busy commercial environment, the outstanding feature of the Regent Toaster collection is that each model automatically switches itself off at the end of each cycle, yet the toast remains warm until it’s taken out of the machine.

“Available in a choice of 5 different colours, the powerful Regent toasters are suitable for both front or back of house use, and all feature a handy ‘toast ready’ ringer which removes the hassle of having to constantly check whether toast is ready and leaves caterers free to get on with other kitchen tasks.”

What does the future hold for the breakfast sector?

With an uncertain economic future, consumers are understandably cautious when it comes to eating out. Stuart Jackson says; “Breakfasting out of home meets the desire to eat out and socialise at a reasonable price point.

“Market growth in this sector is most likely to continue its upward trajectory, as it’s a meal occasion that until now has not realised its full potential. The busier and fragmented working day demands flexible meal times; research suggests success for operators in this sector lies in portable, grab and go, hot menu items.”

Neil Clark of Hessian Coffee agrees and thinks that the to-go market will continue to have an impact. “For many consumers, breakfast will be an essential ‘grab and go’ on their way to work, reflecting our hurried lifestyles; for others, having breakfast ‘out of home’ is seen as a luxury, more likely to be enjoyed as a weekend treat with friends or family.

“These two distinct sectors give caterers two very different challenges but, at the same time, huge opportunities.”

Hot beverages, particularly coffee, will always be a key feature on a breakfast menu; for many consumers a caffeine kick from a cup of coffee might be all they want for breakfast. “That’s why your choice of coffee, and the way you serve it, is a vital part of the breakfast offer,” advises Neil.  “Consumers have become ever more passionate about what they eat and drink; so, in order to grab their attention and to win their loyalty, your hot beverages need to be top-notch.

“The quality of your coffee will be a major factor in determining whether your customers enjoy their experience and return for more.”