How meat is boosting snack sales

By 
Jill Failla, Editor, Consumer Insights

beef jerkey

Say the word “protein” to diners, and you’re likely to tap into their desires surrounding both health and taste. More consumers today than two years ago think that high-protein food tastes good, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report. Three-quarters of consumers think high-protein fare is very healthy, and two-fifths are more likely to purchase and pay more for it when dining out. Consumers even find beef healthier now than they did in 2014 because it’s high in protein.

It makes sense, then, that more consumers now than two years ago say they are eating a variety of meats as snacks, according to Technomic’s new Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork and Poultry Consumer Trend Reports. Click through to uncover three ways meat is upping snack sales.

1. Chicken snacks

mcdonalds chicken mcnuggets

Nearly half of consumers (45%) say they eat chicken as a snack at least once a month, up slightly from 43% in 2015. Young consumers are driving chicken snack consumption: Three-fifths of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 (59%) say they eat chicken for a snack at least once a month, compared to half of that demographic two years ago (52%).

The most popular chicken snacks ordered at restaurants include chicken nuggets, strips and wings, according to Technomic. Chicken quesadillas and popcorn chicken are also common. Nearly all chicken snacks are more preferred among younger than older consumers.

Au Bon Pain revamped its most popular chicken lunch entree as a snack option last November. The new 200-calorie Balsamic Chicken Petit Plate features chicken, mozzarella, bruschetta, basil and a balsamic drizzle. Katherine See, vice president of culinary innovation, says Au Bon Pain’s Petit Plate sales doubled in the year since it introduced the snacks.

2. Beef snacks

beef sticks

Consumers are eating more beef snacks on both a weekly and monthly basis. A third of consumers say they eat beef as a snack at least once a week, up from 28% in 2014. And two-thirds of consumers (67%) say they’re eating beef snacks at least once a month, compared to 61% in 2014.

3. Pork snacks

bacon breadsticks

About a quarter of consumers say they snack on pork at least once a week (24%), a gain from 21% in 2014. And 56% of consumers say they snack on pork at least once a month, up from 52% in 2014. Men are more likely than women to indulge in both beef and pork snacks.

Dairy Queen recently rolled out a value snack menu that features a Chicken Bacon BBQ Snack Melt, combining chicken and pork in a high-protein wrap.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken wings

We started advertising our chicken wings as halal wings with assorted sauces. Our inspiration was to inform customers of an option that was available but not widely known. By changing our approach to our marketing efforts, we were able to exponentially increase participation in the consumption of our halal menu items.

Managing Your Business
busy kitchen

While catering a wedding for a previous employer years ago, Rahul Shrivastav—now director of catering at University of Michigan—found himself in a panic when an elevator malfunction put salad service on hold. “The wedding was in a very old building and the elevator had issues,” he says. “We had 200 plated salads in the freight elevator when it got stuck. The dinner needed to start—they were doing their toasts.” In a panic, Shrivastav hustled up a plan B: His team would station a chef outside the ballroom, and he’d plate new salads right there.

Luckily, the elevator was fixed in...

Menu Development
beau rivage resort blended burger

Stealth health is so 1998. When author Evelyn Tribole’s original book on sneaking healthy add-ons into meals was published nearly 20 years ago, there may have been a genuine nutrition need to fill. But as today’s diners are increasingly requesting more produce at the center of the plate, another need has taken the lead: a desire for creativity. Here’s how operators are openly blending meat with other ingredients—or eliminating animal products entirely—to take protein to another level.

In April, dining halls at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., began offering the Beyond Burger, a...

Ideas and Innovation
desserts plate

We’re knocking down a wall in our bar area, which will create a more inviting atmosphere and allow us to host a coffee and dessert bar in the space on off nights when the bar is closed.

FSD Resources