ATLANTA — Brunch: It’s not just for morning anymore. In fact, some establishments are taking this hybrid meal into the late afternoon and evening, according to Michelle Love, merchandising manager for restaurant concepts at Houston-based H-E-B and presenter at the What’s in Store Live workshops during the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA)’s IDDBA 2022 conference, taking place June 5-7.

The brunch trend is opening space at the table for more than poached eggs and charcuterie and helping baked goods create more options than avocado toast.

Brunch boards are the next evolution, having taken off in recent years as at-home entertaining takes center stage.

During the workshop called “Taking Brunch Boards to the Next Level,” Love and Linda Avila, regional sales account manager, Red Apple Cheese, shared pairings ideas such as a French toast fritter topped with mango Greek yogurt and a pineapple slice, artisan baguette topped with goat’s milk bleu cheese crumbles and a slice of bourbon-seasoned smoked peach or smoked brie and fresh fruit. Other pairings included Stracciatella burrata filling with chicken salad atop a soft pretzel bite and sliced butter pound cake layered with Stracciatella and strawberries.

“We’re really trying to bring brunch boards up a level above traditional items like crackers or avocado toast,” Love said. “We’re looking at things like mini biscuits, mini French toasts or even biscotti.”

Brunch boards are also a space to create brunch crostini with sliced toasted baguettes. But while many people are on board to create that restaurant-style experience at home, not everyone has the time, energy or skills to pull it off. Commercial bakery producers can work with retailers to create programs for simple solutions that can be executed with ease.


“If a person can come into the in-store bakery and get a baguette that’s already sliced and toasted, it’s a great grab-and-go basis for creating something really elegant.” —Michelle love | merchandising manager, restaurant concepts | H-E-B


“Consumers want to create something unique, but it also needs to be easy to do at home and still something that looks like it took a lot of time to make,” Love said.

For example, pre-sliced baguettes can be that easy first step.

“If a person can come into the in-store bakery and get a baguette that’s already sliced and toasted, it’s a great grab-and-go basis for creating something really elegant,” Love suggested.

Brunch board

Artisan baked goods are just one way to cross-promote throughout the fresh perimeter, taking the pressure off shoppers who don’t have an eye for mixing-and-matching a beautiful brunch board. When bakery, deli, produce and meat work together, they can educate consumers on different ways to wake up their taste buds and create elevated eating experiences.

“We really wanted to convey the different things that can be done for a brunch board that people might not be thinking about,” Love said. “We’re thinking about what we can create for grab-and-go and how we cand show consumers what they can do. We want to inform them on how they can make exciting items from smaller finger foods very easily.”