Foodservice may be in flux, what with shifting demographics, economic unpredictability and technological advances. But while foodservice operators can sometimes feel like their plates are piled high with uncertainty, there’s one thing they can count on: Flavor is always in favor, and 2018 is poised to be no exception. In fact, it seems on course to serve up a flavor fest.
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.
As consumer demand for speed and convenience continues to drive such snack trends as grab-and-go and takeout and delivery, the destination seems to become increasingly clear: more snacks, less fuss. Consumers are snacking more and more, but want to do less and less. Nearly half of Americans snack two to three times a day,1 and 94% snack at least once daily.2 The millennial need for speed compels foodservice operators to pick up the pace when it comes to satisfying snack yearnings that cross dayparts.
America is the land of the free and the home of the snackers, where snacking has undergone such explosive growth that nearly half the country consumes two to three snacks daily.1 According to research from NPD Group, millennials and baby boomers snacked a combined total of 173.5 billion times in 2015 alone.1
With such a spectacular, ooh-and-ahh-worthy display of consumption, it makes sense for foodservice operators to explore the consumer segments that have made snacking so prevalent it has started to replace traditional meals, as shown by the steady rise of on-the-go breakfast bars.1 SmartBrief reports that snack bar sales skyrocketed nearly 50% between 2014 and 2016, helping to give rise to the trend of high-protein meat- or seed-based snack sticks—part of the larger trend of portable foods with better-for-you appeal.2