Natural Products Expo West

Evergreen launches Waffles 'N' Bites, continues expanding into breakfast category

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: D. Ataman
Source: D. Ataman

Related tags Breakfast frozen meals

The debut of breakfast brand Evergreen’s Waffles 'N' Bites at Natural Products Expo West last month taps into a growing consumer demand for handheld and “snackable quick breakfast formats,” and frozen quick options, which Innova Market Insights suggests is a small but a potentially mighty subsegment of the market.

Currently, frozen options make up only 12% of quick breakfast launches, which are dominated by shelf stable and hot and cold cereals, Innova notes in its report​, ‘Beyond the Morning Rush: Navigating the Future Landscape of the Quick Breakfast Market in the US.'

But, it adds, “sales show [frozen quick breakfast launches] are increasingly popular at retail, with appetite for innovation.”

The report explains, as consumers resume their busy lives, they are increasingly interested in convenient, on-the-go breakfast options, giving rise to ready-to-eat versions of traditionally warmed breakfasts, including waffles, fully cooked omelets and heat-and-eat breakfast sandwiches.

Evergreen is rising to fill this need with its Waffles 'N Bites line, which company CEO Emily Groden described as “a syrup carrier.”

Evergreen’s Waffles 'N' Bites debut are more than a ‘syrup carrier’

The company debuted its Waffles 'N' Bites line at the show, which includes two egg patties and a homemade strawberry jam that can be served in a microwaveable tray. Groden added that the new line complements the existing portfolio with its signature fruit and vegetable-forward waffles, in addition to a focus on protein from its cage-free egg patties.

Groden explained that the brand’s assortment of scratch-made breakfast sandwiches reflects Evergreen’s namesake as a “brand that was evergreen … and does not respond to any one fad or diet. We are not keto, we are not paleo, we are not gluten-free.”

She added, “We just use real ingredients that, I hope, means that we will live through a bunch of fads that come and go.”

Currently, Evergreen is available in 2,500 retail doors nationwide, with Waffles 'N' Bites expected to launch “later this year,” Groden said.

Plant-based quick breakfast foods provide an opportunity for innovation

While Evergreen does not play in the plant-based segment, Innova predicts plant-based RTE breakfast foods have significant growth opportunity. With four out of 10 consumers relying on ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast foods, the plant-based RTE breakfast segment offers companies an opportunity to provide affordable, nutritious and snackable options.

Wholegrain and fiber are the most popular claims within in the RTE breakfast category, with 37% and 20% making up product launch claims, respectively, followed by high protein (30%) and gluten-free (29%). The prevalence of these ingredient claims underscore consumers’ focus on combining convenience with healthy ingredients.

Within the category, plant-based makes up 9% of claims, “with just 1 in 10 launches carrying a plant-based claim,” and expected to grow as more launches enter the market, according to the report.

Meanwhile frozen quick breakfast launches experience a nominal boost in growth with a 12% increase (a 9% decrease in compound annual growth rate), although retail sales indicate a popularity in these products, highlighting an opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves through innovative ingredients and formats.

A rebrand that reflects a healthy and nostalgic approach to breakfast

The launch of Waffles 'N' Bites follows a rebranding of Evergreen's overall portfolio, which Groden said was "inspired by our experience [at Expo West] last year." The new packaging highlights a more playful approach with bright colors and softer fonts that convey the products’ flavors. This replaces the previous green, block letters against a white background. 

Evergreen also added more produce to its existing fruit and vegetable-forward waffle recipe, as reported​ previously by FoodNavigator-USA.

Each 100% whole grain waffle contains a full serving of fruits and vegetables, up to 30 grams of protein from cage-free eggs and meat and prebiotic fiber. Groden added that Evergreen’s egg patties and chicken sausages are made in-house.

The company offers a variety of savory frozen waffle sandwiches like Bacon, Egg & Cheese, Chicken Sausage, Egg & Cheese, and Spinach, Egg & Cheese, and sweet options like Peanut Butter Banana Bread and Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

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