Millennials consumers are coming of age and driving change in every channel of retail foodservice today. This year when Y-Pulse released research focusing on College campus food trends the halo of ‘fresh’ or ‘better for you’ has never been more prevalent. Here is some of what they found:
1. Eighty-three percent considered healthfulness an important criterion for the snacks they chose. Today’s (campus) customers want fresh, fast fuel for their bodies. Fresh homemade taste has become the new definition of quality for young consumers.
2. Chefs are in the kitchen and not just to offer advice; they are fully engaged, understanding the realities of school foodservice and delivering on the promise of delicious, healthful meals. Registered dietitians are a force on school and college campuses for much more than managing the nutritional integrity of menus; they provide nutrition education and 26% of college students report that an RD is available for personal consultation on their campus.
3. Cooking is also back in style among young consumers who are often more skilled than their parents. Food television has captivated and enabled an entire generation of consumers and cooking classes and chef demonstrations on college campuses are well attended.
4. 95% of foodservice directors in college foodservice said they use social media to connect with their foodservice customers. Eighty-five percent said social media tools are very important or important for promoting foodservice venues.
5. Transparency requires Display kitchens allow customers to enjoy the experience of seeing their meal being prepared and feel more of a connection to those preparing it. Bringing the kitchen out front has the added advantage of building esteem for the kitchen staff by bringing them out of the back of the house to center stage with customers.
6. Today’s college age consumers are more diverse and aware of global cultures and cuisines than any previous generation. Yet even 58% of K-12 foodservice directors say that almost all of their students expect to see ethnic foods on the menu regardless of their ethnic background. Latin, Mediterranean and Asian flavors have been the top three ethnic cuisines for many years.
7. South American cuisines from Ecuador and Peru are becoming popular because of the diversity of agricultural products from tropical fruits to cocoa and coffee. Foods from the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa are gaining interest. Olive oil, dates, exotic flavors like za’atar and simple sea salt are classic ingredients in some of these foods.
8. When college students were asked about the factors that are most important when buying food and beverages, the top three factors were a simple ingredient statement, a company known for ethical practices and sustainability.
At home or school today’s consumers are informed, seeking ‘better for you’ Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food for breakfast, lunch, snacking or dinner. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant scorecard, brand, or product placement assistance. Since 1991 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869