Breakfast is one of those meals that quickly reflects the ebb and flow of trends. Flavour profiles, superfood additives, changes with portion control packaging, all have an impact on breakfast offerings.
Never have these changes been more apparent than in COVID times. With isolation, an ever-present worry for those caring for vulnerable residents during lockdowns, having breakfast together rather than in-room became a treat that could be looked forward to.
So, what is trending?
Researchers are talking comfort and control while aged care facilities are reeling from the changes that COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the sector; this is something that facilities should look at.
As residents reel from being isolated from their families, they look to control at least what they are eating.
For providers, it is a case of making sure that residents maintain their nutrition for health and energy while still providing for residents for whom food memories are significant.
Health and wellness are always top of mind but expect a big spike as we enter 2021 as suppliers endeavour to provide innovation in the aged care space. Probiotics, superfoods, microbiome, active ageing, nootropics and protein alternatives will all feature through 2021.
Plant proteins are also coming through as meat alternatives and are surprisingly tasty and nourishing. High plant protein diets are linked to many health benefits, with studies suggesting vegetarians tend to have lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure levels.
Cannabis was trending in 2019 and has continued this year. Hemp products are still entering the market, from hemp oils to flour, baked items to granolas to crackers - hemp has inspired supplier innovation this year.
A good source of fibre and protein, hemp can be added to granolas, as an oil it can be drizzled on oats – hemp has been seen in a wide variety of products so far and expect more in 2021.
Honey is booming – with many new players entering the market. Given its health properties, it is not unexpected, and flavour infusions are becoming more common.
Single-use packaging is becoming more common as suppliers address the sector's concerns over infection controls. Single-serve portion control cereals, fruits, butters, jams and spreads means less handling with the resident able to self-serve.
Innovation in the packaging area is something that the sector has been in great need of, from lips on bowls to facilitate the transfer of food from bowl to mouth, push plates where those with tremor can push food against an edge, through to sustainable straw options.
All are providing solutions across the variety of resident needs.