A pre-packaged, ready-to-eat breakfast on the go? It's increasingly easy to get. Food companies have heard, loud and clear, consumers' calls for increased flexibility in breakfasting. And protein bites seem to be their answer.
So what are the opportunities out there for producers looking to move into the RTE or heat-and-serve breakfast market? Let's take a look at some of the possibilities.
Once peeled, they're not messy. They're full of protein, so they're apt to satisfy hunger longer than a carb-laden muffin or bowl of cereal. And if prepared under sous vide conditions, they can have long shelf lives without adding a lot of preservatives.
Some companies are offering hardboiled egg products that speak directly to consumers' demands for better quality ingredients and ethical sourcing.
Wilcox Family Farms, for example, markets two-packs of grab-and-go hardboiled eggs, including eggs from hens raised only on locally-sourced, organic feed, as well as cage free hens. Eggland's Best markets larger packs of hardboiled, pre-peeled eggs — including 6 and 10-count units — that come in resealable pouches. Their eggs come from hens that are raised on vegetarian-only feed.
Sometimes you have to think a little outside the box when developing new breakfast products. And sometimes you have to take your out-of-the-box thinking and put it back into the box. That's exactly what The Chia Company did when it created Chia Pods.
High in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein, chia seeds are becoming increasingly well-known to Western consumers for their nutritional benefits. And their exoticism is appealing too, as Millennials are, as a generation, consummate flavor explorers.
Chia Pods are available as either a Chia + Oats mix (with 4 available flavors) or a Chia + Müesli mix (in 3 different flavor varieties). They come in a BPA-free, resealable polystyrene box, so a busy breakfaster can eat some and easily store the rest for later snacking.
Another exotic, high-protein "supergrain," quinoa is a versatile base that could be used to create a bevy of RTE breakfast foods. Quinoa muffins? Check. Quinoa breakfast bars? Why not. Like chia, quinoa could easily be developed as a breakfast bowl-type product in resealable packaging.
Perhaps one of the more interesting deliveries we've seen is a heat-and-serve quinoa breakfast burrito featuring two other en vogue superfoods — kale and sweet potato — and held together with hummus. It's a breakfast food that hits foodies right in their morning wheelhouse, fusing Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine with healthy, nutritious ingredients and excellent portability.
What other breakfast protein bites could you be developing?
We've talked before about the rise in popularity of beef jerky — what would preclude a company from making and marketing pre-cooked, RTE breakfast sausages? How about heat-and-serve chicken and waffles?
The market for snackified foods doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. And with consumers' propensity not to adhere to traditional meal times, there is plenty of opportunity to market breakfast foods as quick bites that can be enjoyed at any point in the day.
Protein bites are big business right now. It just takes a little ingenuity and solid market research to develop your niche: From precooked meats to vegan-friendly, plant-based protein options like seitan or tempeh, there are plenty of possibilities out there, just waiting for entrepreneurs to latch onto them.