With so much attention focused on the better-for-you foodservice trend, it can be easy to think satisfying, flavorful snack options have fallen by the wayside. Hungry for a taste of success in a wellness-oriented competitive environment, foodservice operators are on a quest to unwrap a winning formula for snacking satisfaction.
Chicken sales have wings to fly, as demonstrated by the phenomenal success of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen’s chicken sandwich, which sold out in less than a month.1 Launched on Aug. 12, with inventory forecasted through the end of September, the quick service chain’s first nationwide chicken sandwich flew the coop far faster than expected.1 Now Popeyes is scrambling to bring it back as soon as possible.
Americans are a snack-happy bunch—and as the market research firm NPD Group reports, they’re growing appetite for grazing on snacks is eating into the traditional pattern of three large meals a day.1 And the sheer volume of snacks consumed in the U.S. is surging. Consumers munched on an estimated 386 billion ready-to-eat foods last year, up from 356.billion in 2011.1
As the local sourcing and farm-to-table frenzy shows, consumers have fallen head over heels for fresh ingredients. “Freshness is a top snack attribute,”1 according to survey results from the research firm Technomic. In fact, 63% of consumers surveyed demand freshness first and foremost.2 Women in particular favor freshness (67%), compared to 59% of men.2
As their influence grows, chefs are not only cooking the dishes—they’re calling the shots. According to the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot2019 Culinary Forecast, chef-driven fast casual restaurant concepts rank among the year’s Top Ten Trends.1 And when the report drills down to the top restaurant concepts, chef-driven fast casuals are ranked highest.2