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Alt-Protein Breakfast Options Are on the Rise

New items appear in refrigerated, frozen sections
Nature's Fynd
Nature’s Fynd products are made with the company’s Fy nutritional fungi protein.

As plant-based eating evolves from a novelty to a permanent feature of many consumers’ diets — either for every meal or as part of a flexitarian approach to cutting down on meat consumption — food manufacturers are responding to this movement with a greater number of plant-based products in categories where such items have been underrepresented.

For instance, Alpha Foods recently revealed an upcoming collaboration with Alameda, Calif.-based Just Egg, the market leader in the plant-based egg category, on protein-rich breakfast selections “as they both work towards a healthier and more sustainable breakfast landscape,” according to Glendale, Calif.-based Alpha.

[Read more: "Why Breakfast Foods Are Trending"]

Meanwhile, Chicago-based Nature’s Fynd, which develops microbe-based proteins for meat and dairy substitutes — technically not made from plants, but free of animal protein nonetheless — is expanding distribution of its Meatless Breakfast Patties nationwide, following the refrigerated product’s debut at Whole Foods Market a little over a year ago.

“What we’re seeing is an increased interest in protein for breakfast foods as well as an increasing interest in getting that protein via non-meat breakfast foods,” notes Nature’s Fynd CMO Karuna Rawal. “Traditional sausage patties and breakfast foods like bacon have protein but are higher in saturated fat and calories [and,] for many people, are comfort foods. Nature’s Fynd Meatless Breakfast Patties have 75% less fat than pork sausage per serving. Our fungi-based patties offer that high-protein comfort aspect with lower fat content and fiber.”

The company promotes the patties and its Dairy-Free Cream Cheese (in Original and Chive & Onion flavors) as sustainable, better-for-you breakfast options across its owned channel and paid channels, out of home, and through a sampling program and brand activation programs. “This year, we’ve sampled at events like Vegan Women Summit, SXSW and Vegandales across the U.S., distributing over 200,000 samples in the last year,” says Rawal. Every time we sample, we receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from consumers.”

She adds: “We believe that non-animal-based breakfast options will continue to grow, as will the desire for more protein via sustainable sources like our Fy protein.” Rawal attributes this rising consumer interest to “younger consumers, who historically seek better-for-you foods [and are continuing] to increase their purchasing power.”

Meanwhile, for plant-based eaters who aren’t fond of dry toast, vegan butter brand Naturli’ has introduced its award-winning products in H-E-B stores across Texas, marking the Danish brand’s U.S. debut. Made with cocoa butter, almond butter, coconut oil and canola oil, Naturli’s butters are 100% dairy- and palm-oil free, as well as being lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional butter, with a lower environmental impact. In another part of the refrigerated section, The Forager Project has rolled out additional varieties of its cashewmilk yogurt: 100% bee-free Honey Alternative in a 24-ounce container and, for its convenient line of 3.2-ounce pouches, Peach and Strawberry Banana flavors.

At the time of the launch of Forager Project’s latter two products this past June, Stephen Williamson, co-founder and CEO of the San Francisco-based company, noted: “We’re still working to pave the way in the category for more family-friendly vegan and organic food options that taste good, and expanding our pouches product line is one way to do this. We want there to be a flavor that everyone in the family is excited about, and we’re confident … this new lineup will offer just that.” 

It’s not just smaller companies that are taking notice of plant-based eating patterns, however. Carrie Sander, general manager, portable wholesome snacks at Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co., observes that in response to the projected growth of plant-based diets, the CPG giant intends “to monitor this trend for future food development” in regard to the breakfast daypart. Of course, Kellogg is already a leader in plant-based foods through such brands as MorningStar Farms, which offers various frozen meatless breakfast products.

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