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
"Today's consumers are willing to experiment with new dessert flavors and ingredients, but foodservice operators should optimize their assortments with trusted brand names and familiar products."
Challenges and opportunities loom large for big food sellers. While the 25 largest players feasted on 63% of $495 billion in U.S. food and beverage sales in 2016, their share declined from 66% in 2012.1 Private label products, meanwhile, have seen a 3.5% year-over-year expansion of shelf space since 2012.1 Increasing price pressure from upstart store brands and retailers insisting on lower prices are turning up the competitive heat.1
Say hola to the Hispanic snack surge. A richly diverse population expected to reach 106 million by the year 2050 (a 57% increase from 2015) according to the U.S. Census Bureau,1 Hispanic consumers constitute a large, coveted segment of purchasing power for the foodservice industry. The Selig Center for Economic Growth projects that their purchasing power will hit nearly $1.7 trillion by 2019.1
Indian cuisine is hot, spicing up the U.S. foodservice industry with its plentiful flavor profiles and huge sales potential. Currently America’s largest pool of new immigrants with the highest income level of any demographic group, Indian consumers represent a coveted, affluent market.1
Snacking is in a state of flux. Its frequency is accelerating (94% of survey respondents snack at least once daily;1 one in four millennial snackers partake four or more times a day2) as shifting demographics and busy lifestyles upend traditional eating patterns. As a result, foodservice operations face new challenges and opportunities to satisfy a seemingly insatiable demand for tantalizingly unique flavor experiences.
There’s a lot of buzz these days about snack trends. A smorgasbord of juicy buzzwords, including grab-and-go, wellness, mash-up, hybrid, clean label, international inspiration and numerous others, feeds the need for foodservice operators to keep pace with consumer demand for menu innovation.
“As the largest and most diverse consumer demographic, millennials are global snacking adventurers in search of bold flavors.”