Plant-based pairings, poppable snacks, and portable protein enlivened product categories and exemplified new trends within a rapidly evolving market in 2020. In a changing environment, eggs remain the same—valuable ingredients for formulators who rely on their multiple functional properties, nutritional profile, and familiar taste for a consumer population seeking solace through food. Even as grocers and manufacturers consolidate SKUs, innovative new products made with eggs satisfy consumer demand for fresh ideas and flavorful adventure.
Social media platforms have sparked an egalitarian explosion of food photography and recipe sharing. The hashtag #eggs tops 13 million posts on Instagram, and #breakfast is close to 100 million posts. One recent popular tag, #eggbites, highlights the myriad combinations possible with complementary proteins and vegetables in this simple, keto-friendly dish. Manufacturer versions introduced this year have multiplied.
- Organic Valley introduced an organic version of these refrigerated, heat-and-eat portable, poppable breakfast items. Not only do they fit the convenience profile, but also popular eating patterns for low-carb, gluten-free and high-protein foods.
- At the beginning of October, Smithfield Foods Inc. launched a self-contained egg-based breakfast snack called Power Bites, with an impressive 18 grams of protein supplying the “power” in the bite.
- Nestle’s Life Cuisine brand promotes its version as the perfect fit for the “low carb lifestyle.”
- And Hormel’s Black Label line added chorizo sausage for a bit of spice in its version of egg bites complete with a three-cheese blend.
The brand Lesser Evil made its debut in the cookie aisle with its keto-certified mini cookies in various flavors including Almond Butter Chocolate Chip and Snickerdoodle. The company touts its policy of using “clean, sustainable ingredients” such as eggs. Keto adherents can enjoy products from almost any category as long as it keeps net carbs below a daily recommended 15-30 grams. Another sweet dish introduced this year is a line of keto cheesecakes called “Enlightened” from Beyond Better Foods, with fewer than 2 grams net carbs in a host of delicious flavors. For the ultimate in convenience, how about Birch Benders brownie or cake in a cup? Simply add water, microwave, and in seconds, enjoy a keto-friendly, warm, fresh-baked good of your choice with a spoon or fork.
Plants have it
There is often crossover between plant-based products and claims for gluten-free or keto-friendly within the same package. As one example, consider the proliferation of low- or no-carb crusts taking advantage of egg functionality. The star ingredient is often cauliflower, the new “cauli-power” behind wraps and pizza skins, but egg is a supporting ingredient.
Plant-based products making a debut or releasing line extensions this year:
- Low- or no-carb pizza crusts
- Faux chicken tenders
- Plant-based hot pockets
- Enchilada baked meals
Among product positioning, the most commonly used tag is “convenience,” followed by passive health claims (e.g., protein). “In the past several months as more people returned to cooking at home, consumers rediscovered their love of breakfast dishes and returned to the refrigerated and frozen aisle for convenience,” said Elisa Maloberti, director of egg product marketing for the American Egg Board. “And the proliferation of keto and plant-based offerings illustrates the quest for better health has not been abandoned.”
“While no- and low-carb pizza crusts and keto bars highlight the creativity and inventiveness enabled by egg functionality, breakfast foods illustrate eggs’ firm position as a staple, comfort food ingredient. This year has highlighted perhaps more than ever before the emotional connection consumers have with their food selections. Eggs are such a familiar food item for the vast majority of consumers that when appearing on the label whether in a prominent or supporting role, they can convey comfort, flavor and a reliance on authentic and natural ingredients all at the same time.”
The most recent white paper issued by the American Egg Board highlights the role of egg ingredients in comfort food formulations. Download. The website, IncredibleEgg.org, also contains a wealth of information about the functional qualities and nutritional aspects of eggs and egg ingredients.