Friday, November 12, 2021

Panda Express Evolving with Consumers


Success once again does leave clues.  Regular readers of this blog know the old adage ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way.  In the case of Panda Express evolving with consumers is as simple as Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® formulation that was perfected, developed and tested over time for grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food and beverages: Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat.

We all know that Panda Express, is the largest family-owned and operated Asian dining concept in the U.S.  However, did you know that they are now bringing back the wildly popular plant-based Beyond The Original Orange Chicken to even more cities throughout the country for a limited time while supplies last. 

Consumers love the plant-based product when it was launch in New York City, and Southern California this past summer, this new entrée is a delicious and innovative take on Panda’s iconic, world-famous dish and will now be available at 70 locations. Co-developed with Beyond Meat, this innovative entree captures the irresistible texture and flavor of The Original Orange Chicken, with the nutritional benefits of plant-based protein. Partnerships matter, allow you brand to build, measure, learn, and repeat if you want to grow with your current consumer.

The plant-based ‘Beyond The Original Orange Chicken’ is a good source of plant-based protein and is wok-tossed in Panda’s beloved sweet and tangy Orange Chicken sauce, delivering on the craveable experience that guests love about The Original Orange Chicken. Consumers (Gen Z and Millennials) seeking food discovery are driving the undercurrents factor elevating plant-based proteins.

So, this particular plant-based innovation, which marks Panda’s first-ever outside product partnership, was met with undeniable excitement from guests this summer, as it sold out across all participating Southern California locations less than two weeks into its launch according to Panda’s press release.

Chef Jimmy Wang, Executive Director of Culinary Innovation at Panda Express, stated, “We received an overwhelmingly positive guest response when we introduced Beyond The Original Orange Chicken at select locations earlier this year. In fact, we wok-fired more than 1,300 pounds of Beyond The Original Orange Chicken in just the first day,” … “It’s one of Panda’s most successful regional launches to date, which further reinforces the desire we’re seeing from our guests for more diverse and plant-based options.”

Deanna Jurgens, Chief Growth Officer, Beyond Meat, stated, “We’re excited to expand Beyond The Original Orange Chicken to ten states across the U.S. as we work to increase accessibility to plant-based options at consumers’ favorite restaurants,” … “We’re proud to be Panda’s trusted partner in reenvisioning their iconic, best-selling dish and are confident that Beyond The Original Orange Chicken will continue delighting fans who are seeking great-tasting, and sustainable protein options.”

What other concepts, food types are your customers migrating too?  What are you testing? Outside eyes can drive top line sales and bottom-line profits with the right formulation in place; build, measure, learn, and repeat.

Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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