Given the huge millennial snack market for bold flavor adventures, it can be easy to emphasize novelty over traditional snacking favorites. And yet nostalgia feeds an emotional need to re-experience food products from a time consumers long to relive. Harkening back to the good old days can make consumers yearn for the snacks and comfort foods of yesteryear. For savvy foodservice operators, memory lane can be the road that leads to big snack sales.
Millennials can’t get enough of snacking; and foodservice operators can never seem to get enough information and insight about millennial snack preferences to feed their bottom line. With millennials often snacking four or more times per day,1 it makes sense to want to get inside their heads and figure out the best ways to serve their insatiable snacking appetites.
Hungry to explore new and interesting flavor experiences, today’s consumers can’t seem to get their fill of food halls, which are rapidly replacing food courts as the rage for high-traffic foodservice sales.
The future of foodservice seems poised to serve up a feast of profits. In the restaurant industry, sales this year are expected to grow 4.3% over the previous year to hit a record high of $799 billion.1 Size matters, and when it comes to market reach and sales volume, the restaurant business is a powerhouse of prodigious proportions, with nearly $1 out of every $2 spent on food allocated to restaurant operations.1
Once upon a time, before snacking became a daily activity for 94% of Americans surveyed1 and a convenient meal replacement for on-the-go millennials,2 the snacking landscape seemed populated predominantly by little kids with big appetites for tide-you-over treats. With so much attention focused on millennials and their transformative impact on the foodservice industry, we can lose sight of the fact that kids still help drive snack sales and foodservice trends.
Millennial mania is typically associated with the trend-setting youth market, but now millennial moms, all grown-up and responsible, are taking a star turn on the snacking scene. Having given birth to a feast of foodservice trends, from the better-for-you, clean label and farm-to-table movements to the grab-and-go craze and eclectic flavor fusions, millennials are now having kids and shaping the next generation of snackers.
In-store bakery sales are on the rise—so much so, sales exceeded $13.54 billion in 2015 and the market is expected to reach $18.4 billion in sales by 2020, a 45% jump over the course of a decade.1 Confidence among retailers is high, with 56% of those surveyed reporting that they consider in-store bakeries a leading driver of traffic and an important point of differentiation for their stores and the way they market to consumers.2
Pumpkin spice sure is nice, signaling the start of the holiday season and boosting business for foodservice operators across America, where the love affair with the perennial fall flavor seems to pile up sales like so much foliage.
Given the insatiable millennial appetite for exciting new flavor experiences and interesting twists on traditional favorites, a fresh idea in ice cream should be milked for all it’s worth—and it could be worth a lot. According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), about 1.54 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in 2015 alone, and the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream yearly.1
Convenience stores seem made to order for the age of grab-and-go. Having nearly doubled in size over the last three decades, with 154,535 stores in the U.S. at the end of 2016, the industry is a juggernaut of sales revenue and opportunity.1