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On breakfast menus, Latin’s hot but healthy’s not

In just nine months, the number of restaurant locations offering breakfast menus grew by 13 percent, according to the Breakfast Insights of Champions report recently released by Chicago research company Food Genius. That growth has taken place primarily in the quick-service and fast-casual segments, while casual dining and upscale concepts lag far behind in the 49 percent of restaurants now offering breakfast menus nationwide.

Operators already serving breakfast—as well as those who want a piece of the action—can build a better breakfast menu by taking a look at some of the trends cited in the report.

Latin rules

Outside of standard American breakfast cuisine, Latin American is the most prevalent of cuisines found within the breakfast segment. Latin flavors also are trending on mainstream breakfast menus.

Healthy is slow to rise

While oatmeal and yogurt have made inroads on breakfast menus, healthy options are still fairly limited. And fruit is mentioned in only 15 percent of breakfast items. There is opportunity to offer a greater variety of options for health-conscious consumers.

Gluten-free opportunity

Buzz words like “gluten-free” or “natural” are four times more likely to show up in the nonbreakfast section of the breakfast menu. This is a potential growth area for operators focused on increasing gluten-free offerings.

All about eggs

Eggs are the most common protein mentioned on breakfast menus, according to Food Genius, with scrambled eggs, omelets and egg sandwiches in the top three spots in restaurant chains. Egg whites are the most common healthy breakfast option mentioned.

How sandwiches stack up

Sandwiches continue to grow—they are now found on 42 percent of breakfast menus. While English muffins, biscuits and toast are the go-to carriers, flatbreads are underrepresented and may be used to differentiate the breakfast-sandwich category. 

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