So What? November 2016 Edition

Home / So What? November 2016 Edition

Desserts: Trends

Summary: Traditional desserts are still popular (e.g., cakes, ice cream, etc.). Notwithstanding, chocolate rules! However, non-traditional savory flavored desserts are gaining popularity according to Datassential. Their research also indicates that consumers are indulging in dessert type items between meals as snacks. Consequently, more dessert items are being menued compared to four years ago; 8 to 13 items on 9 out of 10 menus. Frozen, gluten-free, dairy free and ethnic dessert items represent new areas of growth.

So What? Given desserts are now also being consumed as snacks, thus gaining popularity, they present a new area of growth opportunity in foodservice.

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Beverages: Beyond Pumpkin

Summary: Fall is when consumers possess a pumpkin drink craze. A quick history lesson credits Starbucks with initiating a national love affair with pumpkin thirteen years ago. NPD research indicates that seasonal (fall and winter) indulgent drinks drive customer traffic and boosts the average check size. Seasonal flavored beers have now exhibited significant gains (Mintel) – the market jumped 80% between 2010 and 2015. Hot chocolate is gearing up to be the new frontier for winter drinks.

So What? Seasonal drinks have now proven to make great beverage LTOs. Start innovating for spring and summer seasonal beverages.

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Burgers: Best in America

Summary: One way to innovate, is to benchmark “Best in Class” within a category which led us to share some new burger concepts from a fun article in Men’s Journal (“25 Best Burgers in America”). Highlights:
• Cheeseburger Ubiquity – Stacked with patties and cheese; top picks from around the country – local dinners and Chains (e.g., Whataburger).
• Black Bean Burger – Any plant-based fans in the house?
• Carbonara Style – Burgers with dropped eggs now on trend.
Note: Jalapeños and bacon top, toppings!

So What? Burgers are mentioned on 45% of menus across the U.S., and in 43% locations (Datassential). KaChing, KaChing, KaChing for those manufacturers and operators capitalizing on America’s burger craze.

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Marketing: Millennial Marketing Tips

Summary: According to Pew Research in 2015 there were 75.4 million Millennials. Marketing to this target demographic is extremely contingent on understanding how they communicate. Important Millennial buying behavior traits:
• Attention – Grabbing their attention (e.g., visuals) leads to impulse purchases.
• Interest – Creative and interesting content important. Millennials share!
• Desire – Develop a high level of interest that results in social media momentum via interaction.
• Action – Provide purchase incentives that lead to sales.

So What? Millennials have become a key demographic in foodservice based on their eating-away-from-home behavior, thus it is important to study and familiarize your organization with their marketing “hot buttons.”

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Consumerism: Taste Journey

Summary: How human senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch) affect consumers’ perception and taste of food is becoming a new area of scientific study in product/beverage development; the interface of science and cooking. Examples: Imagine your perception of an eating experience: 1.) Popcorn without the smell of butter and the sound of crunch; and 2.) Bacon you just cooked that had no sizzle!

So What? As consumers become more sophisticated eaters, so is the innovative thought process in developing quality new products that deliver great taste by better understanding the consumer taste journey.

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Consumerism: Digital Black Millennials

Summary: African-American Millennials (approximately 11.5 million; $162 billion in buying power) are slowly closing the digital divide. Thanks to being tech-savvy they enjoy a strong cultural influence over the Black community (46.3 million or 14% of U.S. population). Key statistics: 55% of Black Millennials report spending one hour per day on social networking sites which is 6% higher than Millennials; 29% at least three hours per day which is 9% higher than Millennials (Nielsen).

So What? African-American Millennials utilization of technology has now become an equalizer among their peers and community. Consequently, it is important to take notice how they have become key influencers impacting overall change in America.

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Segment Competition: Amazon is Coming

Summary: Amazon’s modus operandi is to sacrifice short term profitability for long term opportunity. They are now eyeing the Convenience channel. Under the Amazon Fresh umbrella, they are planning to open 20 brick & mortar grocery stores in the next two years that will also facilitate order pickup for their online business. Fresh grocery has fueled their recent growth. Adding convenience represents a potential threat to foodservice, especially if they sell prepared food to go.

So What? Advanced technology will enable foodservice operators to improve the delivery of convenience items to their guests, thus remain competitive as more and more food options outside of the foodservice channel become available from C-stores, Retail Grocery stores, Mass Merchandisers, etc., and now Amazon!

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Segment Competition: NACS Highlights

Summary: NACS “Ideas 2 Go” showcase in Atlanta revealed some great new concepts that represent a threat to foodservice operators:
• Fuel City (TX) – Gas station, taco shop, karaoke, car wash, etc. Note: Police direct their drive thru traffic on weekends!
• Throx (VA) – High end, “better for you” food and protein shakes.
• Metro Market (GA) – Prototype of an urban convenience store retrofitted into an old building.
• Mendez Fuel – Local and sustainable food, cold-pressed juices.

So What? The days of C-stores roller dogs are history. C-stores continue to step up their food offerings to be on trend, thus now represent stiff competition for Fast Foods in every market.

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So What? Bonus: Sodium Reduction

Summary: The Grocery Manufacturer Association (GMA) disclosed in October that two years is not enough time for manufacturers to make the kind of reductions the FDA is calling for. Overall they believe the FDA’s targets are achievable, but on a more gradual timeline and reworded due to available technologies that replace the multiple functions of sodium. They did urge the FDA to expedite the evaluation of NuTek’s consumer friendly citizen petition for ingredient labeling.

So What? One solution they propose is for the FDA to examine the role sodium plays category by category (broken into subdivisions). By being more flexible, the GMA believes the FDA will avoid numerous class action lawsuits since the guidance as written (proposed) is impractical.

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