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Breakfast for Dinner? The Blurring of Dayparts Continues

Breakfast foods aren't particularly rebellious most of the time; crispy fried eggs and buttery toast, pancakes stacked high, served with bacon and plenty of syrup.

But eating breakfast for dinner just feels good. It's a satisfying way to assert your independence over what you're supposed to eat and when.

Research shows it's true both ways!
Research confirms it: Nearly half (46%) of consumers enjoy eating breakfast foods at non-traditional times, especially at dinner (56%).1 The popularity of breakfast may be tied to the increasing consumption of protein-rich foods and snacking occasions among millennial consumers.2 Which may also explain why sales for the top cereal brands continue to slip.

But not only do your customers enjoy breakfast for dinner, they also like dinner for breakfast. A quarter (26%) of consumers say they enjoy eating foods that are associated with lunch or dinner for breakfast.3

New favorite: Pot roast and gravy over eggs and hash browns. Roasted vegetable frittata; is that a lunch or breakfast dish? And waffles, well, they just work all day long too with creamed chicken on waffles for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Been to a food hall lately? All-day options rule there, too. Nearly half (49%) of consumers are interested in all-day options at food halls4 where the choice is already so wide among so many different food options. Yet, wider still is the idea of all-day options wherever consumers dine.

All-day breakfast is here to stay
Those comfort-food breakfast favorites will always appeal, but keeping up with the all-day-breakfast trend doesn't have to mean you're stuck serving the same-old same-old. Building Block Associates recently blogged, "The all-day breakfast trend has given new life to the breakfast daypart as foodservice operators scramble to innovate the next hot breakfast menu item... eggs are being reinvented on menus to help drive the popularity of the breakfast daypart within foodservice and restaurants in the U.S."5

With consumers pushing breakfast into parts unknown, why not take a look at these nine trendy all-day egg ideas: 6

  1. Chilaquiles and Migas: Mexican breakfast specialties featuring tortillas/bread, salsa and cheese and eggs
  2. Deviled eggs: Not just for picnics anymore, all grown up with the likes of caviar and smoked salmon
  3. Eggs benedict: All day classics that work with so many different flavors
  4. Frittatas: Quiche-like, and trending into mainstream
  5. Meringues: Flavored with sweet and savory personalities
  6. Okonomiyaki Japanese pancakes: Japanese pub food, great as an limited-time offer and as a small plate
  7. Shakshuka: Saucy Middle Eastern poached eggs
  8. Sous Vide Eggs: Much easier to make than poached eggs, and appealing to a wider audience
  9. Egg yolks: "Put an egg on it" for salad and burger toppers 

America is a nation of snackers
94% of Americans admit to snacking on average four to five times a day, altering our perception of the traditional three-meal-day.7 Snacks are no longer “nice to have”: They are now ingrained into our lifestyles, partially led by those trend-setting millennials.8

Historical data on food-spending habits by the University of Arkansas show eating out has increased from 25.9% of consumers in 1970 to the current record of 43.5%.9

Combine this increase in eating out with a shift toward any-food anytime, and a vast increase in snacking, and you’ve got a whole new variety of menu options.

Here’s an idea of how this plays out. Because consumers eat a wide variety of snacks and define snacks loosely, meals are snacks, snacks are meals, and side dishes and appetizers can also be snacks. When asked what type of snack they had on their last occasion: 10

  • 41% had a traditional snack item
  • 39% had a main meal item
  • 30% had a side dish or appetizer

Bending your menu rules to meet the demand for all-day snacking
What does this mean for your restaurant, your menu? Options, options, options. Break the daypart rules. Forget there ever even were rules! Think about how consumers’ snacking habits can be met throughout the day on your menu. Here are some guidelines to consider: 11

  • Fruit and protein shakes work in the morning, but, not at 3 p.m.
  • Carbs work all day
  • Bars and breads are the morning preferences
  • Afternoon snacking is still carb-based, but something a little saltier
  • Sweet treats have their place as indulgences, especially as a comfort food later in the day

1 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, Technomic Inc.
2 Building Block Associates, "Breakfast, the Foodservice Daypart to Rule Them All," July 6, 2018
3 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, Technomic Inc
4 Creative Concepts: Food Halls May 2019
5 Building Block Associates, "Breakfast, the Foodservice Daypart to Rule Them All," July 6, 2018
6 Building Block Associates, "Eggs: 9 Culinary Trends for this Incredibly Versatile Protein,," According to Report, May 22, 2018

7 Mondelez International, “All day snacking options: A must-have perk,” April 17, 2017
8 Forbes, “Food Leaders Take Notice: How Millennials Are Changing The Way We Eat,” August 26, 2017
9 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, ScholarWorks@UARK, “The Impact of Fast Food Marketing on Millennials,” August, 2016
10 CPP 2018/2019
11 EDLONG, The Scientific Art of Authentic Taste, “Snacking: No Rules, No Boundaries, Lots of Flavor” March 19, 2015