mom and daughter making toast

Global Flavors of Breakfast

From cornetti to papaya to miso soup, here’s a look at what people around the world are eating for their most important meal of the day.

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

The word “breakfast” literally means “to break the fast”—i.e., the long period of time when we’re sleeping instead of eating. As we sleep, we continue to draw from our glycogen reserves. Although our skeletal muscles may not have high demands during sleep, our brains still do. Breakfast replenishes our energy stores, making it the most important meal of the day.

Global Diversity in Breakfast Foods and Flavors

While most people agree that breakfast is an important meal, there is little agreement on what makes a perfect breakfast. In some cultures, carbs are the main event, while in others, protein takes center stage. Whether sweet or savory, simple or gourmet, breakfast choices around the world are a product of culinary tradition and locally available foods that can give rich insights into different cultures.

Take a tour of the diverse and delicious breakfast foods and flavors found around the world:

North America

In the U.S. and Canada, cereal is the breakfast favorite. Quick and convenient, cereal helps busy families fit breakfast into their schedules. Cereal can also be a healthy choice, with cereal trends like high protein and high fiber expanding options for health-conscious consumers. While toast, waffles, pancakes, eggs, and bacon are also part of the North American breakfast scene, cereal remains the day-to-day choice.


Italy is renowned for its coffee culture, making it no surprise that coffee is a breakfast essential. An Italian might have just a cappuccino or espresso for breakfast or might add a pastry, such as a cornetto. Stopping off at a café before work remains a popular tradition in Italy. However, at-home breakfast options also include bread with jam and yogurt with fruit.

eggs in a skillet


Though still a young country, Israel has nonetheless developed its own distinct breakfast traditions. In restaurants, for example, the traditional Israeli breakfast is served—a buffet style breakfast that dates back to the practice of communal dining on the farm collective or kibbutz. Foods include eggs, yogurt, bread, and smoked or pickled fish. One popular egg dish, shakshuka, consists of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce with garlic, onion, chili pepper, and cumin.


While sweet breakfasts are favored in places like Italy, savory breakfasts are the norm in Japan. In fact, a Japanese breakfast could be mistaken for a lunch or dinner meal if not for the smaller portion sizes. A traditional Japanese breakfast includes miso soup, grilled fish, seasoned nori, rice, and pickled vegetables served with a cup of green tea. Another Japanese breakfast staple is natto—sticky, fermented soybeans served over rice.


In Brazil, the simplest breakfast might consist of coffee with a toasted French bread roll. However, fresh tropical fruits are also hugely popular at breakfast time—especially papaya, passion fruit, and acai—on the plate or in the glass as a juice or smoothie. Brazilians also love their breakfast pastries which include cheese rolls, Portuguese sweet breads, and ring-shaped pounds cakes in a variety of flavors, such as orange or banana.

cake on a plate

Start the Morning with Flavor

Without even traveling, we can still explore the diversity of cultures and traditions through food and flavors and be inspired. Offer your consumers a taste adventure with flavors from Glanbia Nutritionals. From fruit to dairy to savory flavors, we’ve got you covered. Whether developing breakfast products for here or around the globe, we have functional and flavor solutions for your next product.

Contact us to get started!

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