According to the US Census, in 2017 the agency reported 110.6 million unmarried people over the age of 18, equaling 45.2% of the American adult population. This is a marked shift looking over the decades to 1960 when 72% of the adult population was married. Whether living alone or living as a single in a multi-generational household, single-serve items conform to individualistic tastes and desires and dovetail with concern over food waste.

“We see an increased emphasis on single-serve sizing in convenient packaging and forms, sold in café bakeries for a quick grab-and-go bite,” says Elisa Maloberti, director, Egg Product Marketing, American Egg Board.

Maloberti is responsible for AEB's egg product marketing program, which includes educational programs, research and advertising/promotions targeting food manufacturers.

Single serve fits into current trends and demographics:

Smaller portions or single serve sizes fit the efforts of Gen Z and Millennials to avoid food waste, a growing concern in that population segment according to a report from the American Bakers Association released in the spring. For example, three-fourths of consumers are bothered by wasting bread and more than half would buy more baked items if they came in smaller portions.

That same report said that Millennials and Gen Z key into descriptors like “whole grains” “freshness” and “natural ingredients” when purchasing baked goods.

Single serve fits into the snacking trend. Snacking growth outpaced food and beverage growth to create a $16 billion incremental growth opportunity in the mega $750 billion – plus snack market. Of note, 91% of consumers snack multiple times throughout the day. (IRI State of the Snack Industry/Hartman Health and Wellness report 2017)

Maloberti identifies one key trend as choux pastry on the rise. It can be molded into various shapes such as eclairs or cream puffs and then piped with any type of filling imaginable, either sweet or savory.

“Recently at the Research Chefs Association we highlighted the versatility and functionality of eggs with a pastry cream demonstration and tasting samples of a sweet Strawberry Basil Beet and a savory Purple Corn & Hatch Chile version of a pate choux,” Maloberti says. “In the pate choux dough the eggs help create the crisp outer shell, while supplying flavor and color to the choux pastry. The custard fillings, which rely on eggs for their smooth texture and rich flavor can incorporate spices and flavors from popular ethnic cuisines. This type of item also provides the consumer with a multi-textural eating experience, which is also trending.”

There’s also a trend toward offering a more elevated beverage service in bakeries and cafes. It gives retail outlets a point of differentiation and makes them a destination. For instance, when you offer Tiramisu Coffee, with a creamy vanilla egg custard topping – you’ve elevated your coffee offerings and given customers another reason to linger and enjoy your creativity.

“Consumers are drilling down into the ingredient deck and looking for authentic flavors, exciting formats and clean and simple labeling. Authenticity isn’t going anywhere but will become more firmly entrenched as well as the desire for natural foods and ingredients whenever possible. Egg products can help supply both,” Maloberti says.

“Artisanal bakery items will continue to flourish in the retail bakery space, as it’s a way for bakers to distinguish themselves. It also plays to the desire for a return to simpler, less processed foods with whole grains and slower fermentation. As the pace of life picks up, people will look for comfort in food memories or nostalgia for foods they might not have had but know of conceptually.”