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
A case in point is the Asia Pacific region. In the second offering of Food Industry Asia’s Lunch Series held in Singapore last year, global market intelligence agency Mintel identified four overarching trends that it anticipates will help drive food and drink consumption in the region in the coming years.1 Gleaned from the work of more than 100 Mintel analysts with a global reach across the food, drink and foodservice industries, the trends were parsed in a presentation by Avanthi Ravindran, senior trend and innovation consultant at Mintel South-East Asia and India.1
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
Let’s face it: Snack trends may come and go, but there’s one constant foodservice operators can rely on, and that’s the pivotal importance of taste and flavor in driving the consumer’s snack choices.
More and more foodservice locations are adding takeout programs and partnering with third-party delivery vendors to meet rising consumer demand for speed and convenience.* From limited-service restaurants to full-service restaurants to retail operations, takeout helps fill the tall order of satisfying the seemingly insatiable millennial appetite for on-the-go options.*
It looks like meal kits are digging in for the long haul—and the future could be a feast of subscription revenue. Designed to deliver fresh, pre-measured ingredients to time-strapped consumers hungry for convenient meal solutions, the global meal kit market topped $1 billion in 2015, according to the market research firm Technomic.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.