Saturday, April 28, 2012

Restaurant consumer discontinuity creates opportunity.

Here is a look at this week’s food related new and our view of the opportunity to be garnered from it. We learned that ninety-two percent of U.S. energy drinkers vist quick-service restaurants.  The research stated 81% of those consumers would be likely to buy energy drinks in a quick service restaurant. We learned that it’s time to reposition beverage to include bottle, cans and supplements.

Then we heard approximately 9% of generation X adults strongly are strongly committed to buying organic foods whenever possible, while 39% say they buy organic on occasion. Are you offering organic food, if so, is it positioned as “better for you” product?

Nearly 36% of Danish consumers are prepared to pay more in taxes in return for policies to promote consumption of healthier food.  They pay some of the highest taxes now. Opportunity “better for you” might be better for business.

Then Technomic found 58% of U.S. consumers have at least one food-related application on their mobile device.   If it is not your app wow there is an opportunity.  Banner ads are dead; mobile is in and will continue to grow.

Evolving flavor profiles create new menu opportunity.  A new study found U.S. foodies significantly more likely to choose menu items with bitter, sour and umami flavors, yet general consumer say sweet is their personal taste preference. Keep sweet up front but add a little bitter.

I think we learned that 18-34 year olds don’t understand the implication of double dipping. In one study we learned 67% of Americans restaurant patrons age 18-34 say it’s OK to double dip, while only 28% of those ages 55 and older say it is acceptable. That study came from TGI Friday’s by the way.   Am I wrong or just too old?

There just might be an opportunity in food safety education and your customers.  When 57% of Canadians have no idea what food irradiation is and 38% have not heard of it and 5% are not sure what it is.  But when informed 66% strongly favor practice one being told the definition.    Allow your food safety to guide and reassure consumers.

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Johnson, or

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