The brunch bunch are making their presence felt in cafes, pubs and restaurants across the land.
With a 72% increase in brunch bookings through Bookatable last year, a clear market is emerging, and eateries are stepping up their offerings to match. Normally the supermarkets would be the first to try and make an opportunity like this their own, but when it comes to brunch they seem to less keen to put their money where the public’s mouth is.
In many ways it’s not surprising. By its very nature, you go out for brunch. Have it at home and it’s just a late breakfast, with a lot of washing up to do afterwards. What’s more, the most popular components don’t immediately lend themselves to innovation. With both avocados and eggs enjoying record sales this year – at least in part fuelled by the brunch boom – eating natural is part of the appeal of the hybrid meal, leaving innovators little room to make their mark.
Plus, since its inception the brunch lines have been blurred. Part breakfast, part lunch, part hangover cure, part daytime dinner party, pinning down what people should eat for brunch and then selling it to them in supermarkets seems to go against the free-spirited smorgasbord-ness of it all.
But, that said, missing the brunch boat could be a wasted opportunity. Giving the customer some of the eating out experience at home has always been a winner for supermarkets, and as a retail opportunity that would allow the customer to keep their pyjamas on, we’d have thought the British public would be all over it. With meal kits already out there for most of our eating urges, there seems to be a gap on the shelves where ‘Easy Eggs Benedict’ and the like should be sitting, offering a less-mess, less-time alternative for blurry-eyed mid-morning eaters.
Of course many brands and supermarkets have indeed stepped up their brunch offerings, as previous Product of the Year winners reflect. Fruitus Breakfast Bars offer a great healthy alternative to the traditional fry-up, reflecting consumers’ increasing desire to have a healthy start to the day. And here at Product of the Year we love to mix some Arla Skyr or Activia Fruit Fusion with a handful of Jordan’s Lighter Granola for an award-winning brunch! Items like juicing kits and pre-chopped fruit platters are increasingly catering to the healthier breakfast crowd, but it sometimes feels like they’re just not going far enough.
Tesco does Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Burrito kits, bringing global tastes to the brunch table, but there’s not a whole lot of competition out there when it comes to seizing a slice of the late breakfast/early lunch pie.
Brunch is a brilliant opportunity for innovation and we are looking forward to seeing what Britain’s best loved brands cook up to meet demand.
Do you know some products packing a brunch punch? Tell us about them or remember to enter them in next year’s Product of the Year awards.