KANSAS CITY - Breakfast isn’t just for breakfast anymore, and suppliers are meeting surging demand for a variety of traditional breakfast products — including breakfast sausages, which are enjoying something of a renaissance, with new products joining old favorites.

Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc.’s Jimmy Dean brand features a host of breakfast sausage options, including Jimmy Dean Fresh Roll Sausage, Fresh Links & Patties, Fully Cooked Sausage Links, Patties, Crumbles, Simple Scrambles®, Skillets, Jimmy Dean Delights®, Breakfast Bowls, Stuffed Hash Browns, Protein Sandwiches, and Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick.

Two products were introduced this fall, said Scott Glenn, senior director of marketing for Jimmy Dean: Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites and Jimmy Dean Delights Breakfast Wraps.

The Casserole Bites, Glenn said, are everything consumers love about breakfast casseroles baked into handheld, poppable bites made with premium, seasoned Jimmy Dean pork sausage, real eggs, and other breakfast favorites like bacon, potatoes and cheese.

“Ready-to-eat in minutes, Casserole Bites deliver the satisfying taste of a homemade breakfast casserole, but without the hassle,” he said.

Another option for when consumers are craving a filling, home-cooked breakfast but don’t have the time to cook are the Delights Wraps, Glenn said.

 The wraps deliver 13-14 grams of protein and 17 grams of whole grains per wrap, providing a protein-packed option made with real veggies, all-natural turkey sausage or bacon, white cheddar cheese and whole scrambled eggs wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla that can be enjoyed at home or on-the-go.

“Demand continues to be strong for both refrigerated and frozen breakfast categories, with more consumers looking for breakfast solutions at home than ever before due to the pandemic,” Glenn said.

Both Jimmy Dean Frozen Protein Breakfast and Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage volume sales are up compared to last year, according to Nielsen.

Jimmy Dean continues to see an uptick in the “breakfast snacking,” trend, Glenn said, with more consumers eating breakfast foods later in the morning or as an afternoon snack.

“Especially in the midst of the pandemic, the hours to eat breakfast foods have become more varied,” he said. “Products that play in the frozen protein breakfast, bacon, and breakfast sausage categories have all seen an increase in consumption at occasions outside of breakfast this year.”

While the pandemic has increased the consumption of breakfast foods at various times of day, this behavior was common among many consumers prior to the stay-at-home orders. The 2019 Jimmy Dean Brand Breakfast All Day Survey found that 80% of adults eat breakfast foods as a snack, with more than 50% engaging do so once a month or more.

Convenience and health spur innovation

While morning routines look different, convenience continues to be an important consideration for consumers, Glenn said.

That was a major impetus behind the new Casserole Bites, which he describes as “everything consumers love about breakfast casseroles, but are baked into convenient, handheld poppable bites that can be eaten on-the-go or individually heated as a snack in-between mealtimes.”

And another surging trend, health, helped drive the development of the new Delights Wraps, a breakfast line for those who are looking to eat healthier without sacrificing on taste, Glenn said.

“They’re a great protein-packed option that deliver on what consumers are looking for in a convenient, ‘better for you’ breakfast or midday pick-me-up,” he said.

With more and more consumers reaching for breakfast foods at various times of day, Jimmy Dean is proud to offer consumers convenient and satisfying breakfast options for anytime, anywhere, Glenn added.

“We have an exciting pipeline of innovations on the horizon and look forward to sharing more over the next year.”

Given that the hours to eat breakfast foods have become more varied in recent years, many of Jimmy Dean’s recent innovations are designed to fit into consumers’ more flexible eating schedules, Glenn said.

Consumer desire for convenience also continues to be paramount for driving relevance for our portfolio of ready-to-eat products featuring the company’s signature sausage. Jimmy Dean Morning Combos, Omelet Minis, Loaded Sausage Bites and Casserole Bites are all convenient, easy-to-prepare breakfast options that are also snackable – perfect for the morning at home or on-the-go, or when you are in need of a midday pick-me-up.

“Additionally, recent additions to the Jimmy Dean Delights portfolio such as Jimmy Dean Delights Egg’wich and Delights Breakfast Wraps, offer breakfast and mealtime solutions to consumers focused on positive nutrition without sacrificing taste or convenience,” Glenn said.

A turkey alternative

Garner, N.C.-based Butterball has a variety of fully cooked breakfast turkey sausage items, including traditional All Natural Breakfast Sausage patties and links, the recent addition of sausage crumbles, and a newly launched line of heat-and-enjoy balanced breakfast options featuring turkey sausage.

 In 2019, Butterball introduced Breakfast Sausage Crumbles to complement its existing fully cooked turkey sausage line.

“Consumers have enjoyed the convenience, taste and exceptional quality of Butterball’s turkey breakfast sausage and links, and sausage crumbles offer a new way to enjoy the same great product,” said Tom MacDonald, Butterball’s brand manager, consumer packaged goods.

Crumbles are available in an 8-ounce resealable package. They come fully cooked and chopped and are a great way to spice up favorite savory recipes for casseroles, stuffing, omelets, pasta sauce and more, MacDonald said.

Butterball is also launching two new lines of breakfast options that feature Butterball turkey sausage—Butterball Breakfast Pairings and Butterball Sausage Balls. 

Breakfast Pairings include a sous vide egg and turkey sausage links, providing the perfect combination, said,  of great taste and better-for-you goodness of naturally healthy turkey sausage.

The Sausage Balls, meanwhile, allow consumers to indulge in a delicious, flavorful mix of Butterball turkey sausage, cheddar cheese and herb seasoned baking mix, MacDonald said.

“While these products are designed with convenience in mind, we know consumers don’t just want convenience, but a breakfast for the whole family that is convenient as well as savory, healthy and high in protein,” MacDonald said. “Today’s consumer is a savvy label-reader and is equally focused on what is in a product as what is not.”

Turkey sausage, as a naturally lean protein, is a good alternative to traditional pork sausage, and Butterball turkey sausage patties and links have 50% less fat than pork sausage, MacDonald said. Additionally, Butterball’s All Natural turkey sausage patties and links have no added hormones or steroids, no added nitrates or nitrites and are gluten free.

Meatless options

El Segundo, Calif.-based Beyond Meat, Inc. is seeing huge growth in its new breakfast sausage category — and expanding accordingly.

In September Beyond Meat announced that its Beyond Breakfast Sausage Patties, introduced last winter and retailing for $4.99 MSRP, would be expanding to select Kroger, Super Target, Walmart, Publix and Harris Teeter stores.

As demand for plant-based meat continues to rise, this expansion complements the company’s expansive retail presence at approximately 26,000 retail outlets across the US.

“Following the initial release of our Beyond Breakfast Sausage Patties, we’ve heard an enthusiastic and overwhelmingly positive response from consumers who asked for increased availability,” said Chuck Muth, Beyond Meat’s chief growth officer. “We’re thrilled to be able to make delicious and nutritious plant-based meat with no GMOs more available nationwide, giving our consumers another convenient option to Go Beyond any time of day.”

With flavor notes like sage and black pepper, Beyond Breakfast Sausage Patties are designed to taste like pork breakfast sausage patties, unlocking even more breakfast choices, Muth added.

The patties feature:

  • 11g of protein per serving (two patties), derived from peas and brown rice
  • 50% less total fat and 35% less saturated fat and sodium than a leading brand of pork breakfast sausage patties
  • No cholesterol, nitrates, nitrites, antibiotics or hormones
  • No GMOs, soy or gluten
  • Certified Kosher and Halal

Beyond Meat’s products are available at approximately 112,000 retail and foodservice outlets in 85 countries worldwide. Most recently, the company launched its Beyond Meatballs at grocery stores nationwide.

This story was featured in the November issue of Supermarket Perimeter. Click here for the full issue.