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From the Fall 2016 Newsletter

Breakfast’s Time to Shine

Dairy Leads the Way as the Healthy, Wholesome Choice

Moms everywhere are nodding their heads in agreement as recent eating trends show that breakfast is back. 

According to a recent AC Nielsen survey, 74 percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The same study finds that 44 percent of those surveyed think breakfast is a meal eaten outside the home. Dairy, with its protein power and performance as a breakfast ingredient, is a natural to satisfy.

This is especially important when considering consumer demand for more protein in their diets. Nutrition experts recommend 25-30 grams of protein at each meal, but in analyzing current consumption levels, breakfast provides only 12 grams of protein on average. (See chart) This early day protein shortage represents a major opportunity for restaurants and dairy processors. 


A significant consumer trend is the idea of “portable protein.” Consumers know that protein is what makes them go. The trick for foodservice operators is to provide that “go” on the go. People are starving in the morning, not just for food, but for time. Restaurants that make breakfast easy – a great value, portable, delicious and fast – can win the game. 


Successful operators can prepare a host of ready-to-go breakfasts, packaged for fast pick-up. Standard items include single-serve yogurt, parfaits (hand-scooped yogurt with a cup of granola), bagel and cream cheese, breakfast wraps, and single-serve cereal with a pint of milk. Some innovative options include hand-packed Ricotta with honey or a savory-like olive oil and sun-dried tomato combination. Cottage cheese also works for pre-packed on-the-go meals. Cubed cheese and fruit fuel commuters, too. 


Speed still rules for fast turns, so operators should focus on a To-Go menu that features fried egg and cheese sandwiches, toasted bagels and cream cheese, or a quiche and frittata that can be prepped and packed to order. As stated, make the solution fast, as many of the diners are in the midst of rushing to work.


Several chains, including McDonald’s, are testing all-day breakfast. Let’s face it, breakfast can be quite satisfying after a hard day at work or school. With the morning rush behind, lunch and dinner provide time to execute a more complete menu. Eggs, prepared in real butter, work for many menu options. Cheese omelets, steak and eggs served with croissants, buttered rolls or biscuits, all fit the bill. Meal replacement items like smoothies keep dieters satiated and hydrated. 


If you’re looking for a way to show off your restaurant’s sustainable, local and fresh menu offerings, you should start with milk. Yes, milk. Nothing packs a protein and nutrition punch like an 8-ounce glass of milk. A 1-cup serving of two-percent, low-fat milk provides eight grams of protein. In addition, your customers would benefit from eight other essential nutrients in the milk, including vitamin D, calcium and potassium. We recommend highlighting milk’s benefits on your menu – everyone could use a friendly reminder of the wholesome benefits of a glass of milk at every meal. 

Whether, hot or cold, morning or night, breakfast satisfies. Foodservice operators who want to capitalize on two hot consumer trends – the return of dairy fat and all-day breakfast – should implement aggressive promotions. As the no. 1 dairy state in the U.S., California leads in the production of fluid milk, butter, Mozzarella cheese and non-fat dry milk. California is second in the product of yogurt and overall cheese. These are the key ingredients to make breakfast a top seller for your foodservice operation – not only in the morning but served all day!