Breakfast trends 2024: Five innovation thought-starters from UK foodservice

Insights Lab casts its eye over breakfast, spotlighting globally-inspired offerings, a simple on-the-go winner, and a new style of French toast for UK innovation teams
Different breakfast dishes
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well, from an industry perspective, opportunities for attracting early risers have certainly diversified since Covid, with UK breakfast trends a complex topic that includes the convenient, on-the-go arena; the indulgent eating scene; and more conservative, at-home scenarios.

The workday breakfast and the weekend breakfast are fairly separate concepts, with healthy eating macro trends, the idea of permissible indulgence, and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis all playing their respective roles to varying degrees, Monday to Sunday.

The bottom line is that Brits love their breakfasts, there's plenty to go after as a food business, and consumer spend data often makes for positive viewing.

In foodservice, we're seeing new breakfast innovations emerging in previously unlikely areas, with street food operators, dinner-focused institutions, and a raft of globally-influenced restaurants among those now broadening their daypart focus areas to reach new audiences.

Breakfast choices are also broadening in UK retail, with HFSS restrictions drawing focus on healthier breakfast development and on-the-go options rolling out to meet evolving demand from the time-poor and snack-centric.

So, for those 'early risers' in food product development; what are some of the hotspots in UK breakfast innovation that you can bank for 2024 inspiration?

We've painstakingly whittled down our list of current innovator examples to bring you five interesting thought-starters, with East African-inspired fry-ups, marvellous maritozzi, and semi-savoury French toast all on our breakfast menu.

Manchester's Hatch, a retail & street food destination, recently announced a dedicated breakfast segment, with globally-inspired options now offered by seven of its traders between 10am-12pm.

As a whole, the new breakfast launch features food inspiration from Africa, Brazil, Texas, Australia, Sicily, and Mexico, with creative takes on classics found throughout.

Dishes include focaccia breakfast butties from Sicilian spot T’arricrii (which, incidently, also offers Sfincione); deep-fried French toast with chicken tenders, bacon and hot honey from Parmogeddon; and a range of breakfast tacos and pancakes with agave syrup from Rio-Mex.

Perhaps the most eye-catching is House of Habesha's Ethiopian-inspired take on a full English (pictured), comprising enkula fir-fir (Ethiopian scrambled eggs), lamb sausages, a fava bean medley, fried onions & tomatoes, hash browns and sourdough toast.

The East African innovator also now offers the traditional Eritrean breakfast, Fata, as well as Turkish eggs and egg frittatas.
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Royale with Cheese
Fallow, London
Leading London restaurant Fallow recently made waves by announcing a first-ever breakfast menu, following on from the launch of their brunch in 2022.

Served between 7:30am and 10:30am, Monday to Friday; the menu is teeming with creativity, and we could easily have focused on the malted waffle with whipped whey caramel, praline and raspberry; or even the black pudding benedict with black pepper hollandaise (which some of you will remember from one of our recent newsletters).

To us, it's Fallow's 'Royale' section that really stands out, with the four-strong line-up led by the Royale with Cheese - a sausage patty with cheese, bacon and egg, sandwiched between Fallow's signature croissant rolls.

Other Royale options include the decadent Salmon Belly Royale, comprising salmon, crème fraîche, spinach hollandaise and egg; and the vegetarian Mushroom Royale, with grilled portabello, crispy shallots, egg and cheese.

Kama-Tama Udon
Koya Ko, London
Japanese noodle restaurant group Koya is big on breakfast, with its Soho and Hackney outposts littered with Japanese-inspired options.

Both breakfast udon and breakfast rice options feature, with its Kama-Tama Udon (pictured) pushed on its Koya Ko Hackney socials in August.

In its Instagram post, the brand describes the dish as: "All your favourite elements of a Full English, from bacon to raw egg and butter soy mushrooms, made into an almost Japanese carbonara with the addition of our house udon noodles."

Koya Ko's breakfast menu only runs Friday to Sunday, 10:00am - 11:45am; with those seeking a true taste of a traditional Japanese breakfast able to order its grilled fish with pickles and rice, served with 'cup-soup'.
Food Trend to Food Concept

What to expect:

  • Understand the state-of-play with Asian-inspired chicken with an expert-led overview, innovator examples, and a spotlight on potential opportunity areas for the UK market.

  • Journey with us through fried/breaded chicken seasoning opportunities, exploring viable retail applications and digesting analysis.

  • Discover a brand-new retail seasoning concept as an example of our 'trend to concept' methodology, with the team discussing ingredient builds and suitability for the UK market.

  • Understand possible range expansions, backed up by AI-led product concept showcases.

Image: @estersn16
French toast - traditionally a sweet sensation, dripping in butter, honey or syrup, covered in the likes of fruit, bacon, peanut butter, powdered sugar - and in some cases, all of it.

Enter Esters, a creative café in Stoke Newington that regularly riffs on existing menu items. French toast is one of them and, back in May, the team showcased a new version with strawberries (pictured).

What's interesting about it is that, to quote them on their Instagram post: "it's almost savoury".

They go on to say that many of their diners have told them that strawberries are not a favourite for their French toast. Too sweet and too basic, as the post reads.

And so, to meet demand; the Ester team created a version "with hardly any sugar".

The strawberries were salted, macerated and fermented in their own juices, with the polenta crisp perched on top having been cooked in blended strawberries. Honey cream and honey-kvass whey caramel sauce round the dish off, with Ester proclaiming it good, different and "almost alive".

Forno, London
Last, but certainly not least, is Forno's viral maritozzi.

Launched in March this year, the bakery has quickly made a name for itself as being one of London's best, with its stunningly simple Italian sweet cream bun the hero option.

Freshly baked, Wednesday to Monday; the bun has taken East London by storm, with Forno regularly running out by midday as the breakfast crowd descends.

Its maritozzi were initially made famous by its sister restaurant Ombra during lockdown, with Forno's many more-complex baked goods never outdoing the simple combination of cloud-like cream and fresh brioche bun.

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