Mother's Day Brunch is a Time for Eggs

Sysco Shape May 2013

Every year, Mother’s Day is the perfect day to take Mom out to eat. In fact, according to a survey by the New York-based brand consultancy Brand Keys, 92 percent of consumers planned to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. Among those, 70 percent planned to take Mom out to eat, a 10 percent increase compared to 2012.

Many of these diners most likely ordered the quintessential breakfast and brunch food, eggs. For years, however, restaurant goers thought they had to avoid certain egg entrees because of warnings about eggs being unhealthy or even dangerous. Some consumers did not order eggs the way they wanted, cooked sunny-side up or poached, because undercooked eggs presented the potential danger of salmonella, bacteria that causes foodborne illness. Even people who ordered fully cooked eggs had to worry about other health concerns, such as cholesterol, fat and heart health.

This Mother’s Day was different though. Fortunately for consumers and for restaurant and foodservice professionals, egg options are now available that are healthier and safer than ever. Two of Sysco’s vendor partners, National Pasteurized Eggs Inc. and Michael Foods Inc., offer products that put the enjoyment back into eggs.

National Pasteurized Eggs offers Safest Choice pasteurized shell eggs. The eggs undergo an all-natural, gentle water bath pasteurization process that eliminates the risk of salmonella. The eggs are not cooked, so they still look like raw eggs. Kitchen staff can prepare the eggs the usual ways.

With non-pasteurized eggs, only fully cooked eggs were considered safe to eat, because the cooking would kill the bacteria. “A sunny-side up egg is essentially a medium rare chicken,” explains Jay Berglind, vice president of National Pasteurized Eggs Inc., based in Lansing, Ill. “There were rather significant health consequences for people over 60, children, and people whose immune systems are weakened.” Of course, on Mother’s Day restaurants are typically packed with adults over age 60 and children, so this concern is very real to operators.

Pasteurized eggs can prevent foodborne illness not only in poached egg dishes—such as eggs benedict, other dishes that involve hollandaise sauce, or even Caesar salad dressing—but among other foods made in the same kitchen. Berglind explains that although people should wash their hands every time they crack an egg, most people don’t, especially in high-speed, high-volume kitchens. That practice could cause cross-contamination. For many restaurant and foodservice professionals, one solution is to use eggs that are pasteurized.

Of course, not every diner wants a soft boiled egg or other presentation of not-solid egg yolks. Some just want eggs in a sandwich or an omelet, but have had to forego their favorites because of health issues. According to a survey by Chicago-based research firm Mintel, 30 percent of respondents eat fewer eggs than they would like due to concerns about cholesterol. Consumers in the 55-plus age group are more likely to buy egg whites as a low-cholesterol alternative.

Michael Foods Inc., based in Minnetonka, Minn., offers a solution in egg white products. Egg whites are a fat-free, cholesterol-free, lean source of protein. The company offers egg whites in convenient liquid, frozen or precooked form. Recently Michael Foods launched Papetti’s Home-Style Egg White Omelet to help operators capitalize on the growing demand for better-for-you options.
“Breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos and egg whites are growing as more operators jump on the breakfast bandwagon and expand their menu options,” says Kelly Blaszczak, senior brand manager of Michael Foods, Inc.

That could mean incremental sales for establishments that offer egg whites as part of the regular menu, on Mother’s Day or any day. Also according to Michael Foods, consumers want more variety, in addition to their egg white omelets. The company offers many other items, such as Puffed Egg White Patty, Two-Cheese Egg White Patty with Monterey Jack and Parmesan Cheese, and Garden Vegetable Egg White Patty with Basil and Cheese. Also, recipes are posted online for everything from hummus spread to sun-dried tomato frittata to avocado salad, all with egg whites.

Blaszczak says many of the new breakfast and brunch items on menus tend to incorporate premium ingredients such as lobster or gruyere cheese, spicy flavor profiles such as jalapenos or pepper jack cheese, or “healthy halos” such as Mediterranean inspired egg dishes.

National Pasteurized Eggs offers recipes such as baked eggs in potato nests, huevos rancheros and poached eggs in tomato broth. The group’s website features videos demonstrating how to make poached eggs, steam baked eggs, eggs sunny-side up and others.

The NRA, quoting figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), notes that the amount of cholesterol in a Grade A, large egg is 185 mg, which is 14 percent lower than previously recorded. Eggs are nutrient-rich, providing 13 vitamins and minerals for as little as 70 calories per large egg. Also, eggs are a good source of high-quality protein, and the egg yolk contains almost half the amount of protein and the majority of the other nutrients. This nutritional information alone should make any Mom happy, but operators know that people who eat out on Mother’s Day, or on any day, want to eat something delicious.

“Offering healthy choices can help increase traffic,” Blaszczak says. “Consumers report that lack of healthy choices is one of the biggest barriers to eating out for breakfast. Customers may not always order a healthy option in the end, but it does give them permission to visit more frequently.

For more information and more recipe ideas, visit or



Related Recipes:

Broccoli Carrot Frittata (PDF)

Individual Cheese and Herb Stratas (PDF)

Egg White and Asparagus Quiche (PDF)

Mediterranean Omelet (PDF)

Smoked Salmon and Egg White Bagel (PDF)