Now that the pandemic has made well-being a top-of-mind concern for consumers, foodservice is sharpening its focus on nutrition and the functional benefits of better-for-you food options.
Off-premises dining now comprises a larger portion of overall sales than it did pre-pandemic in all six major restaurant segments (family dining, casual dining, fine dining, quick service, fast casual, and coffee and snack).1 No doubt, the demand for takeout will remain strong in the coming months as summer temperatures and higher vaccination rates prompt consumers to seek a convenient way to dine outside—and take leftovers home.
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Given the heightened awareness of the importance of better-for-you and functional food options, it makes sense that demand for protein alternatives would grow exponentially during the pandemic.
As we reported in our 2021 Foodservice Trends: A Look at the Road Ahead report, 78% of consumers would like restaurants to menu more food and beverages with functional benefits.1 The consumer appetite for functional foods is robust, with 61% of those surveyed saying they're either extremely or very interested in them.1
As the consumer appetite for better-for-you and functional foodservice continues to grow during the coronavirus crisis, wellness-driven meal delivery can be expected to make more inroads into the market. Jumping on the better-for-you bandwagon seems an essential ingredient in any recipe for off-premises business success.
Consumer interest in traditional approaches to diet and nutrition seems to be thinning out. While the focus for many weight-conscious consumers tended to be concentrated almost entirely on calorie intake, attention is shifting to a more holistic approach to wellness-oriented food consumption.