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Consumers want nutritious foods, premium ingredients and breakfast all day. To satisfy those demands, operators are menuing turkey — especially all-natural turkey. The versatile protein is being featured in menu items ranging from hearty brunch dishes to portable meals like breakfast sandwiches that are available during all dayparts.
All-day breakfast is a trend that is gaining momentum in the U.S. According to Technomic’s Breakfast Consumer Trend Report1, 30 percent of consumers say they are purchasing breakfast beyond the morning daypart more often than they did two years ago. Also the report calls breakfast a destination driver, with 31 percent of consumers saying that they consider breakfast to be more of a destination than they did two years ago.
Foodservice operators say consumers want all-day breakfast and they want innovative twists on familiar breakfast items.
Turkey breakfast, all day
At Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles, which operates locations in Cleveland, Chicago and Oak Park, Ill., about 25 percent of sales in the evening are breakfast items. “Breakfast is so comforting,” says owner Tonya Johnson. “It’s just something people can enjoy any time of the day. When we opened we knew we would sell breakfast at night, but not at the level we do now.”
The chain's menu includes turkey bacon and chicken sausage. Customers can order turkey bacon as a side with any meal, or find it in menu items like the Gold Coast Skillet2, which consists of home-fried potatoes, eggs, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, cheddar cheese and a choice of chicken, turkey bacon or chicken sausage. “In this day and age people are looking for healthier options,” Johnson says. “The chicken and turkey alternatives have become very popular.”
Sometimes people enjoy other turkey items for breakfast. “We have customers who will come in at eight in the morning and order a turkey burger,” she says. “Everybody has their preferences.”
Consumers are looking for foods prepared with premium ingredients, and which are minimally processed and more nutritious. According to Datassential’s 2017 Breakfast with a Function report3, more than 40 percent of consumers are interested in breakfast items with functional benefits like energy-boosting or protein-packed.
At Chompie’s, with five locations in the Phoenix area, one of the top sellers is the Fitness Omelet4, which is an egg white omelet containing diced turkey, spinach, mushrooms, green chiles and tomato, topped with Parmesan cheese. “This omelet is one of our top 10 breakfast items,” says Frank Lara, vice president of operations. “Since we serve breakfast all day, many people will have it for lunch and dinner.”
Turkey is adaptable and can take on different spices and flavors. Other popular items at Chompie’s include the Buffalo Benedict, which is two poached eggs, Buffalo-spiced turkey, avocado and jack cheese, topped with Buffalo hollandaise; and the Arizona Benedict, which is two poached eggs, grilled roast turkey, sautéed tomato, topped with avocado slices.
There are opportunities to add turkey to more breakfast items. According to Datassential MenuTrends5, 82 percent of U.S. breakfast menus feature bacon, 73 percent feature sausage and one in five features turkey.
Stay a while or grab and go
At fresh&co6, with 15 locations in New York, the egg sandwiches are available with optional add-ons such as turkey bacon, turkey sausage and turkey ham, as well as pork bacon. The restaurant also offers the Power BLT, which is two eggs, turkey bacon, avocado, oven-roasted tomato, and sun-dried tomato pesto on rustic ciabatta.
“Our turkey bacon outsells pork bacon probably three to one,” says George Tenedios, fresh&co co-founder. “People are becoming more aware of the health benefits of turkey compared to even chicken, which is nutritious.”
On the weekends, brunch is available all day. “At 2 or 3 o’clock, instead of a panini melt or quinoa breakfast bowl, people are asking for an omelet or egg white wraps, which we are known for,” he says. The wraps include variations such as the AM Energy wrap, which contains egg whites, chicken and spinach in a whole wheat wrap. It is also available in customizable versions. Tenedios says his go-to is feta cheese, turkey bacon, tomato and spinach.
Clearly, breakfast sandwiches are gaining popularity. According to Datassential7, mentions of “breakfast sandwich” on U.S. menus has increased 18 percent since 2013.
Dunkin’ Donuts features its breakfast sandwiches all day, including the Turkey Sausage sandwich with egg and American cheese served on a choice of English muffin, plain bagel, multigrain bagel or croissant8. Starbucks offers the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich, with melted, reduced-fat white cheddar cheese on an organic wheat English muffin9 . Bruegger’s Bagels offers the Skinny Zesty Egg White, with egg whites, turkey sausage, Swiss cheese and sun-dried tomato spread on a skinny Everything bagel10.
Whether it’s a grab-and-go sandwich or a sit-down breakfast at night, consumers are looking for healthful, innovative meals. And all-natural turkey bacon and turkey sausage provide a satisfying, high-quality protein solution for breakfast offerings.