Coconut fruit bowl with beverage

Wake Up to Plant-Based Mornings

February 1, 2022

The plant-forward trend is strong in all dayparts, including breakfast. Wake up to the possibilities of meat and dairy alternatives in the morning. Get details and recipes, here.

When looking to understand whether an emerging food trend has staying power, sometimes the smartest thing to do is follow the numbers. With the buzzy and much-hyped family of meatless and plant-forward foods, the path leads directly to Millennials and Gen Zs, two huge and influential demographic groups born between 1981 and 2012 that together account for roughly 140 million people—about 42% of the total U.S. population. Their behaviors, marked by heavy restaurant use with a strong side of social awareness and activism, point to booming business for plant-based meals.

This interest isn’t a vegan or vegetarian thing—only about 5% of the U.S. population1 regularly follows such diets. Instead, it is fed and fueled by diners, mostly Millennials and Zs, who are motivated by values that support more flexitarian and vegan-curious lifestyles. Concerns over sustainability, animal welfare, environmental factors, health considerations, and even a taste for variety are among the drivers of plant-forward meal choices and meat-free meals in foodservice.

Interest has been explosive, with about 70% of consumers estimated to have tried at least one such meat substitute. According to The NPD Group, growth of the category is expected to stay strong through at least 2024 and there’s no better time to tap the trend than breakfast, a meal with lots of plant-based choices. Explore the trend and then plant new items on your menu.

Adding plant-based items to breakfast menus is appealingly easy, with eye-opening options to satisfy all appetites.


Non-dairy milks such as soy, almond, hemp, oat, rice, coconut, and cashew are among the easy options available to whiten coffee, tea, and hot cocoa.

  • Chagaccino with chaga tea, cinnamon-vanilla monk fruit, almond milk, and espresso over ice
  • Dirty masala chai with chai-spiced tea, almond milk, and a shot of espresso


Eschewing milk products and dairy yogurt is pretty simple for this fruit- and veg-forward class of drinks that is easy to amp up with functional ingredients.

  • Coconut water, spirulina, greens, mango, pineapple, and ginger
  • Banana, pineapple, avocado, ginger, and carrot juice
  • Banana, date, spinach, peppermint, maca, chlorella, hemp seed, and raw granola


Grainy bases topped with a bounty of fresh fruits and veggies make strong showing for easily eaten, on-the-go breakfasts.

  • Breakfast burrito bowl with pan-seared chickpeas, black rice, lentils, quinoa, cabbage, guac, and mango salsa
  • Basmati rice with vegetables seared in coconut oil and seasoned with tamari and topped with marinated kale, sprouts, hemp seeds, and vegan walnut parmesan

Toast and Bagels

Bread, biscuits, muffins, and bagels are edible platforms for a full range of toppings. Avocado toast, still a strong seller on menus, is just for starters.

  • Almond butter toast on sourdough bread with strawberries, banana, maple, and cacao nibs
  • Smoked carrot lox and bagel with sesame seed cream cheese, capers, dill, and onion

Breakfast Meats

Popular ground meat products easily sub in for sausage patties and links while seitan, tempeh, wheat meat, and soy take the place of traditional bacon.

  • Brunch burger with plant-based patty, vegan cheddar, tofu scramble, pickles, tomato, onion, and hollandaise aioli
  • Chimichanga with crumbled plant-based chorizo, tofu, cashew queso, chilies, black beans, rice, guacamole, guajillo sauce, and pico de gallo

Waffles, Pancakes

Ensuring that these carb-happy offerings are meat-free is pretty straightforward; the biggest caveat being that eggs are part of many recipes. Some formulations are egg-free while others are adapted with substitute products.

  • Almond flour pancakes with banana whipped cream and almond or cashew butter
  • Griddled vegan blueberry cornbread oven cake with scrambled tofu, vegan butter, and maple syrup

Breakfast Sandwiches

Plant-based sausage and chicken analogs as well as seitan, soy, wheat meat, and mung bean-based eggs are among the portable and perennially popular A.M. entrée.

  • Maple-sage plant sausage, American cheese, and scrambled egg product on an English muffin
  • Fried slabs of seasoned tofu and pan-sizzled kale on sourdough bread with vegan garlic-chive mayo
  • Potato roll split and filled with spicy plantain sausage, scrambled tofu, cashew cheese, and blueberry balsamic jam


Source: GALLUP poll 2018

The information provided is based on a general industry overview, and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.

Vegetable-centric kebabs on an outdoor grill

Add Craveability to Plant-Based Cooking

Produce-based cooking is fast gaining popularity. Get in on the trend, and find new ways to deliver extra flavor and craveability from plant-based recipes.