When it comes to convenient breakfast options, consumers are looking for products that meet their dietary needs without sacrificing flavor or taste. Manufacturers have answered the call by producing frozen waffles, pancakes, and French toast, as well as breakfast baking mixes for waffles and pancakes, which incorporate better-for-you ingredients and innovative flavors.


Market data

Sales in the overall frozen breakfast food category grew 7.0 percent to $3.7 billion for the 52 weeks ending April 19, 2020, per IRI, Chicago. The pancake/French toast/waffle mixes category saw significant activity over the pat year, up 17.5 percent to $601.9 million.

State of the Industry: Bakery Report
Overview | Bread | Tortillas | Sweet Goods | Snack Cakes | Pizza | Desserts | Cookies | Buns & Rolls | Bars | Breakfast Products

The frozen waffles segment of the frozen breakfast food category rose 5.4 percent for the year, reaching $989.8 million. Kellogg Co. dominates this market, and company sales in the category increased to $725.4 million for the period, up 4.4 percent. Its flagship Eggo brand rose 3.0 percent to $526.3 million, while its Thick & Fluffy frozen waffles sold $104.2 million, up 19.0 percent. Kodiak Cakes Power Waffles—from the 2020 SF&WB “Bakery of the Year”—grew 48.6 percent to $29.4 million. Kodiak Cakes Energy Waffles grew 57.9 percent to $9.4 million. Kodiak Cakes products all take a nutrition-led approach. Birch Benders also saw great growth, with its frozen waffles increasing 147.1 percent to $2.1 million.

The frozen breakfast entrées segment, which includes frozen pancakes, rose 9.5 percent to $778.7 million, according to IRI. Segment mainstay De Wafelbakkers saw $90.1 million in sales, up 1.8 percent. Kodiak Cakes Power Flapjacks grew a healthy 57.8 percent to $9.1 million.

Nearly every company in the breakfast mixes category saw growth for the year. The Quaker Oats brand Aunt Jemima leads the category with $151.7 million in sales for the year, an increase of 13.0 percent. Continental Mills brand Krusteaz grew 25.5 percent to $69.0 million. The hot Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes brand saw growth of 30.2 percent to $55.0 million, while its regular Kodiak Cakes mix grew 22.3 percent to $14.4 million. Birch Benders registered a whopping 187.4 percent jump, with sales reaching $25.2 million.


Looking back

The breakfast category is known for its “quick and convenient” feature. Recent trends show that consumers are interested in adding nutritional benefits to the need for convenience. Reduced sugar, increased protein, and increased fiber are all areas of interest, with increased protein being the primary driver.

“We have seen increased interest in boosting protein in both frozen and mix versions of pancakes and waffles. Adding protein to bakery in general is a trend we expect to continue,” says Brook Carson, vice president of product development and marketing, Manildra Group USA, Leawood, KS.

Over the past year, while the traditional waffle and pancake markets remained strong, some consumers have started gravitating toward healthier choices. This push toward increased nutrition creates challenges on the equipment product development and production side.

“As an equipment manufacturer, we rely on companies who partner with us to develop their batter formulas. As the batter formulas change to meet their market demand, this often translates into modifications and upgrades in oven technology for us,” says Scott Grayson, sales manager, TSA Griddle Systems, Carrollton, TX.

Birch Benders, Denver, a producer of organic pancake and waffle mix, has tailored its latest offerings to consumers who are demanding low-carb, no-added-sugar, better-for-you breakfast products. The company recently launched microwavable Birch Benders Cups, which provide keto-friendly baked goods and pancakes in one minute. They come in seven flavors. “Just add water, stir, microwave, and enjoy,” says Lizzi Ackerman, co-founder and CMO. The company also introduced Keto Toaster Waffles, which contain only 6 grams net carbs for two waffles.

Kodiak Cakes, Park City, Utah, has identified a white space between keto offerings and its existing product line-up, according to Cameron Smith, president and co-founder. “We created a Kodiak Cakes Carb-Conscious Buttermilk Flapjack & Waffle Mix, which has fewer net carbs than other brand mixes and still tastes good. We hope this new mix will allow more people to recognize the benefits of whole grains while adhering to their diets effectively.”


Looking forward

The next big wave of interest in frozen breakfast will revolve around low-carb, especially as it relates to the keto diet, according to Carson. “Boosting protein and adding in fibers to replace carbs is trending in bakery, and breakfast foods are no exception. High protein and high fiber on their own have a great nutritional benefit, but looking at the overall blend of macronutrients has an even greater appeal.”

Moving forward, one of the greatest opportunities—and challenges—will be to develop new oven technology and equipment to meet the growing demand of smaller niche markets in the frozen breakfast category. “This represents incremental business that not only grows overall sales, but also helps to increase efficiency and flatten operational costs over time,” says Grayson.

Kashi, Solana Beach, CA—a Kellogg Co. subsidiary—is committed to making convenient breakfast foods that are delicious and provide positive nutrition. “Take, for example, our gluten-free Berry Bliss frozen waffles made with superfoods. They not only taste amazing, they also are made with quinoa, berries, and beets. The vivid purple color of the waffle brings an exciting and new eating experience to the breakfast table,” says Shannon Anderson, brand manager.

This summer, Kashi plans to launch Kashi GO Protein Waffles that contain 13 grams of protein in every serving of two waffles. The line includes vanilla buttermilk, blueberry, and cinnamon brown sugar versions that are organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. “The waffles contain high-quality ingredients such as cage-free eggs, and deliver the convenience of a quick breakfast, with the health benefits of whole grains, protein, and fiber in classic flavors,” Anderson notes.

Many innovative frozen breakfast items have been released in the past year—and more are on the way. “I think it shows that consumers are ready for innovation and that nutrition is a driver in decision making,” says Carson. “Low-carb pancakes and waffles have an opportunity for growth. The primary challenge is making products that meet nutritional goals while maintaining the preferred flavor and textural attributes.”

State of the Industry: Bakery Report
Overview | Bread | Tortillas | Sweet Goods | Snack Cakes | Pizza | Desserts | Cookies | Buns & Rolls | Bars | Breakfast Products