Saturday, October 25, 2014

Snacking Myth not Fact Consumer Search Find Equilibrium


Have you been reading how snacking is now a trend? Asked if it we found it to be Fact or Fiction? We answered Fiction.  Here is what we found with each new article on snacking the author appears to be feasting on PR propaganda from restaurants chains with flat or down customer counts and research firms pandering to public companies thirst for simultaneously rising check averages, top line sales, and bottom line profits. Those main stream articles are more a kin to lemmings running to a cliff than consumer fact. 
The simple truth is 30 years ago QSR chains sold a small beverage aka a soda and it was a 10 oz. serving. Today, a small soda range from 16 oz. to 24 oz. for a small that’s 60% to 140% larger than it was 30 years ago.
It’s been 30 years that the industries prime focus has shifted from consumers, to stock analyst, and the bottom line, too an ever increasing waist line. The consumer has caught on. For five years customers have migrated from restaurants to C-stores and other non-traditional fresh food outlets offering mix and match meal bundling. That meal bundling included single serve fix size beverages not unlimited soda fountain drinks as a draw. Consumer prefer fixed size over unlimited. That is but one example.
Consumers also want to spend less, eat less, but want ‘better for you’ options at meal time. Those snack ideations most often mentioned in articles are equivalent to a basic burger in both portion size and calories that once drove exponential growth in the QSR sector. Why would anyone in this industry think the customer moved? They have not.
The industry has moved in a direction away from the consumer and closer to Wall Street. The tipping may be closer than you think. Momentum is a powerful thing and five years of flat and declining customer counts within the overall restaurant industry has provided ample time to bolster the hopes of the new competitors focused on consumers. Those competitors are positioning right sized, drinks, menu items, and deserts.
There has been no tectonic shift in consumption patterns the only shift that can be quantified over the past five years is consumers migrating to right sized, right priced Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat offerings.
Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food continues to drive top line sales and bottom line profits. Mix and Match meal bundling empowered by consumer choice is finding a home at non-traditional fresh food outlets aka the Grocerant Niche. Consumers have said enough is enough reduce portion size and price while adding bold flavors and we will come.  Snacking is not a trend it is mislabeled propaganda. 

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit:  www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information


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