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Wellness Wedded to Flavor: Market Hungers for More Better-for-You Options

Wellness Wedded to Flavor

Millennials are more likely than the overall population to pay more for sustainable, organic or all-natural products.1

As consumers increasingly gravitate to wellness-oriented options, the better-for-you foodservice trend continues to feed the bottom line in a big way.

According to survey data from the foodservice research firm Technomic, 34% of consumers eat more better-for-you snacks than a few years ago, and 25% plan to snack more nutritiously in the coming months.2

Overall, more than a quarter of consumers surveyed assert that they would purchase snacks more often at restaurants if those snacks were better-for-you options.3 And while flavor is important, so is function. “High in protein” and “energizing” are the wellness attributes that hold the greatest appeal.3

Promoting the premium quality of better-for-you snacks with a unique twist—e.g., smoky wood-grilled broccoli or crisped Brussels sprouts tossed in grain mustard—can help boost in-store sales and divert traffic from retailers.2 Technomic cites the trend of fast casuals, bakery- cafés, airports and other operations packaging combinations of foods into better-for-you snack selections.4

Expect demand for better-for-you snacks in portable formats to continue. Twenty-seven percent of consumers surveyed say they would opt for to-go snack boxes that are made fresh daily.4 And with chicken already a snack-box staple, operators seem likely to convert other proteins, such as crab and shrimp, into snackable portions.

What’s more, the perception of snacking as a valid wellness option seems to be growing, with 66% of consumers surveyed agreeing at least somewhat that having a snack instead of a meal can be part of a good diet.5 That said, snack choices seem to be increasingly determined by nutritional value. Forty-two percent of snackers surveyed base their selections on wellness.6

Better-for-you vending presents untapped growth opportunities. While only 30% of younger consumers purchase snacks from them, nearly half say they would like vending machines to offer fresh, nutritious options.7 Anticipate such options to become more available as new-age, fresh-focused vending continues to grow.

Millennials Eat Up Holistic Foodservice Concepts

For millennials, wellness tends to be holistic, extending beyond food to encompass self, community and planet, which they view as interrelated. As a result, they are more likely to favor trustworthy foodservice brands that promote sustainability and social responsibility.

“More and more, millennials want their food choices to fit into the ideal image they strive to portray—one that shows their social consciousness, sense of community, concern for health and wellness, and demand for quality and value,” wrote marketing and strategic planning consultant Judith Russell in The Robin Report, an online source of insights and opinions on consumer products.8

Food choices reflect personal identity and values for millennials. No wonder, then, that 47% of millennials surveyed by the market research firm Mintel are buying more organic foods than the previous year, and 34% of them feel better about themselves when they make organic purchases.9

With 79% of millennials paying attention to the ingredients on food labels,10 expect better-for-you options that also cater to the millennial appetite for innovative flavor profiles and global mashups to gain more momentum.

With 3 in 10 snackers surveyed in agreement that they’d buy better-for-you snacks more often if they were available in more unique flavors,11 taste remains a key purchase-driver for wellness-conscious consumers. Balancing satisfying flavor, premium quality and wellness attributes by menuing dishes like our Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burger Made with RITZ Crackers could be the recipe for improving margins.

1 Datassential, FoodBytes: Millennials (Feb. 2018), p. 3
2 Technomic, Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report (2018), p. 12
3 Technomic, Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report (2018), p. 52
4 Technomic, Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report (2018), p. 19
5 Technomic, Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report (2018), p. 49
6 Technomic, Snacking Is Here To Stay (2018), p. 5
7 Technomic, Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report (2018), p. 15
8 Russel, Judith, “For Millennials, You Are As You Food Shop,” The Robin Report (Dec. 12, 2017).
9 FONA International, Millennials trend insight report (2018), p. 2
10 FONA International, p. 3
10 Technomic, Snacking Consumer Trend Report (2018), p. 21

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