From Egg McMuffin to Eastman Egg: America’s Insatiable Appetite for Breakfast Sandwiches Keeps Growing

From Egg McMuffin to Eastman Egg: America’s Insatiable Appetite for Breakfast Sandwiches Keeps Growing

For on-the-go consumers who can’t eat breakfast at home, breakfast sandwiches are a popular choice. In 2013, NPD noted that breakfast sandwiches made the Top 10 list for both at home and away from home morning foods.

There are many reasons for breakfast sandwich popularity, including taste, portability, ease of eating, a satisfying and filling nature, along with offering the protein that consumers desire in the morning.

The Egg McMuffin was a pioneer when introduced nationally in 1972, and remains highly popular to this day. As of April 2015, McDonald’s is testing several all-day breakfast items, such as Egg McMuffins, Sausage McMuffins and Sausage Burritos.

McDonald’s is tapping into America’s hunger for breakfast all day long, and also the daypart blurring trend.  The popularity of items like breakfast burritos and breakfast pizza are further examples of daypart blurring. According to one foodservice executive that we spoke with recently:

“The lines have become so blurred: the daypart is not as well defined as it was 20 years ago. The Millennial will eat anything 24 hours-a-day.”

Breakfast is Booming

Looking beyond QSRs like McDonald’s (i.e., Quick Service Restaurants) to foodservice more broadly, breakfast sandwiches and burritos/wraps have posted consistent growth in a variety of channels.

For example, breakfast sandwiches had estimated sales of $675 million in the Coffee/Donut/Bagel foodservice channel in 2011, and annual growth rates for breakfast wraps and burritos were as high as 101% between 2007-2011. During the same time period, breakfast sandwiches at convenience stores posted gains of 5%.  Convenience store executives that we spoke with in 2015 foresee continued growth in breakfast sandwiches for the next 3-5 years.

The 'Golden Egg' of Breakfast that is Locally-Sourced with Natural Ingredients

From Egg McMuffin to Eastman Egg: America’s Insatiable Appetite for Breakfast Sandwiches Keeps Growing

Another foodservice trend is the consumer desire for locally-sourced, natural ingredients. Eastman Egg Company in downtown Chicago promises:

“Real Food for Breakfast…eggs and meats are sourced directly from Slagel Family Farm.  They’re all-natural, hormone-free and humanely raised – because we care about what you eat.  Our fluffy bread is baked daily in Chicago by La Farine Bakery (Logan Square).”

Eastman Egg began as a food truck, and has recently opened its first retail location in downtown Chicago, with more locations planned. With its focus on authentic sourcing of high-quality ingredients that are handcrafted to order, Eastman Egg offers premium sandwiches priced between $6-$9 to hungry Chicago office workers.

As eating habits change, successful brands will drive product innovation that combines the attractions of high protein, local sourcing and great taste with American’s increasing preference for all-day eating and grazing.


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  • It's intriguing to watch what has buoyed the McDonald's business. The breakfast sandwich (like a burger, you could eat it without a fork) came along to make use of the stores during the morning hours. The Happy Meal (promotion) was originally introduced to build traffic during the empty evening hours. Both have helped McD succeed over the long haul.

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    Michal Clements

    Michal is co-author of Tuning Into Mom and an experienced consultant. Michal develops winning growth strategies and detailed go to market plans for some of the world’s outstanding organizations including McDonald’s, Gatorade, Abbott, Barilla, Tylenol, Clorox, Key Bank, Eagle Ottawa, Quaker and the Baker Demonstration School.

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