So What? March 2017 Edition

Home / So What? March 2017 Edition

Breakfast: #NationalHotBreakfastMonth

Summary: Detailed below are the top hash tag items for National Hot Breakfast Month (February).
• Portability – On average, Americans spend about 12 minutes eating breakfast each day and more of those occasions are now on the go. (WSJ)
• Breakfast Sandwiches – Dominate number of tweets. Click on the first link below to get the top heart stoppers in American that will spark your innovative juices.
• Regionalization – Breakfast all day a given; what consumers eat varies by region.

So What: Breakfast items will continue to be the gateway to menu innovation.

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Chicken: White or Dark Meat?

Summary: Chicken 101 from the experts (link) – the color differences can be attributed to the two types of muscles and their energy/oxygen utilization; dark cuts are the drumsticks/thighs while white are breasts/wings. Dark meat has stronger flavor due to higher fat content: white meat is milder, but a great conduit of flavor. Chefs consider a chicken breast their blank canvas when it comes to innovation, but wings (white meat) have become popular as snacks and appetizers.

So What: Winning formula: chicken white meat = flavor = signature menu item.

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Snacking: Snacking – In Lieu of Lunch

Summary: NPD revealed a new trend – visits to restaurants declined 2 percent year ended September 2016, while visitations during the afternoon snack period rose 3 percent. Actually, nearly half of all snack visits are during this daypart compared to morning (23 percent) and evening (30 percent). The menu item ordered the most during this timeframe was a burger. Chicken sandwiches were also a favorite along with traditional snacks (e.g., chips, fries, carbonated beverages, etc.).

So What: Simplify operations, miniaturize existing menu items positioned as snacks.

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Snacking: Nutrition Trends

Summary: Packaged Facts new report: Snack Food Nutrition Trends: Pulses, Vegetables and Grains in Salty Snacks and Crackers highlighted that despite classic salty snacks still being popular (e.g., potato chips, pretzels, etc.), alternative ingredients snack sales are exhibiting strong sales growth. The leading alternative ingredients are pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas), vegetables (sweet potato, spinach and kale) and grains. Young families are driving sales of healthier snacks. Note: Gen Z (kids) will eventually grow up.

So What: Make alternative ingredient snacks a new product priority given their future sales potential.

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Beverages: Product Safety & Integrity

Summary: States are beginning to introduce legislation about the adverse effects (e.g., hyperactivity) of food dyes, while the FDA stands by the safety of their approved color additives. The catch is that consumers still associate their flavor expectations (perceptions of taste) with color. Future trends: When it comes to beverages consumers want natural flavors made with natural colors. Second on their list are sugary beverage warnings.

So What: Be careful when innovating new flavors and utilize ingredients that will result in authentic, clean labeling since consumers are becoming more knowledgeable when it comes to product safety and integrity.

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Segment Competition: Food Halls

Summary: Reuters/Ipsos reported that one third of the U.S. population is eating out less compared to three months ago, thanks to restaurant prices being at a historic high and intense competition (e.g., supermarkets). There is a new kid on the block stealing consumer share of stomach – food halls. They are beginning to surface providing high-quality ingredients (variety) in a casual setting (e.g., shopping malls). Consumers can kill two birds with one stone – shop & eat.

So What: Food halls are a major treat moving forward. Operators need to rethink value, menu variety and loyalty to remain competitive or join the party with their own food hall concept.

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Consumerism: Millennial Targeting

Summary: Foodservice manufacturers/operators continue to focus on Millennials as a driving consumer force. Marketing experts continue to advocate the following targeting practices:
• Authenticity – Be real, honest, encourage two-way engagement.
• Social Trust – Deliver consistent messaging and sustainable value to build brand loyalty. Millennials will control long-term purchasing power.
• Understand Millennial Eating Behavior – Deliver healthy food, conveniently. Millennials are adventurous, thus covet global flavors, ethnic food.

So What: Target Millennials to build the future consumer base (a.k.a. foundation) for your business.

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Consumerism: Health & Wellness Hot Buttons

Summary: Consumers are snubbing and taking the initiative to control their own intake of food & beverage. NPD indicates Americans now prefer developing their own personal plan that meet their specific needs and lifestyles. Some key buttons:
• Eating wholesome, fresh, organic, non-GMO, etc.
• Utilizing technology for information and monitoring.
• Convenience, fast.
• “Good food” delivered by socially responsible* organizations/brands.

*locally sourced ingredients, donations to charities, animal welfare, environmentally reliable

So What: Address and clearly communicate how your organization is adopting to consumers health and wellness hot buttons, one consumer at a time.

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