Grab-and-go options provide a healthy traffic boost

grab and go sandwiches

From DanoneWave Away From Home.

Away at college for the first time, many college students indulge in late-night pizza and other treats—particularly around exam times. But increasingly, students are looking for healthier options—54% of students say that it’s important to eat healthy and pay attention to nutrition, according to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite.

To increase traffic throughout the day, offering better-for-you snack and beverage options is key.

Following the trends

College students are known for being busy and eating on the run, but what they’re eating and drinking is changing. For example, the Technomic College & University report finds that 40% say that when they choose a snack, the overall nutritional value of the snack is important or extremely important. So instead of grabbing a soda, they might look to a plant-based beverage, such as almondmilk, which will not only satiate their hunger, but provide healthful nutrients. Instead of a candy bar, they might pick up a bag of trail mix or a organic cheese snack.

As the trend skews toward more mindful choices for meals and snacks, foodservice directors and retailers should focus on grab-and-go options and make moves to ensure students can find what they’re looking for, including non-GMO, plant-based and clean-label options.

And because of the growing popularity of better-for-you options, more operators are making the move to sell them both as part of meal plans and in retail settings. According to Nielsen, plant based beverages are a $1.38B category and growing. What’s more, 55% of Americans say they plan to eat more plant-based foods going forward, so it’s safe to assume that this upward trend will continue.

Grab-and-go items that fall under the better-for-you umbrella (for instance: items that are low-sugar, low-fat, low-calorie, low-carbohydrate or free of high fructose corn syrup) provide the opportunity for students to purchase a healthy item at a reasonable price to take with them wherever they may be going. It’s an ideal solution for people who are on the go, and these items should include both food and drinks—in Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Consumer Trend Report, consumers 18-34 years old say that 30% of their snacking occasions include food and beverages, while 15% of their snacking occasions are only beverages.

Additionally, according to Technomic’s College & University report, one-fifth of students say they are willing to pay more for plant-based foods and drinks, so these grab-and-go items can even be sold at a premium.

Healthier choices can mean more all-day traffic

According to Nielsen, 60% of millennials are choosing plant-based food and drinks, and with students increasingly interested in healthier choices both at meals and between meals, the natural next step is to give students what they want. Most snacking happens in the afternoon, with 79% of consumers saying that’s when they have a snack—but snacking is popular all day, with 27% saying they have a snack in the morning, 48% snacking in the evening and 29% late at night, according to the Technomic Snacking report.

Increase traffic during all dayparts by offering up items such as dried fruit snacks, almondmilk, trail mix, organic cheese snacks, mixed nuts, no-sugar-added juices, meat snacks and veggies with hummus.

These are all options that are great for taking on the go and are easy to add to foodservice locations. The opportunity to profit on college students’ desire for food and drinks that are free of artificial sweeteners and other ingredients is big—don’t miss out.

Contact your DanoneWave Away From Home representative to learn how our Wellness Beverage Experts™ can help optimize your operation. Call 888.620.9910 or visit www.danonewaveawayfromhome.com.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

This semester, the East Quad dining team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is taking steps to offer more authentic global cuisine , Michigan Daily reports.

The team has partnered with the Office of Student Life to start a conversation with students on how best to create and serve Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Additionally, the university invited chefs from Japan and India to campus to help its chefs create more authentic recipes.

The school’s push for more accurate global cuisine was partially inspired by an international food event that got cancelled...

Industry News & Opinion
Madison food truck

The Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., has partnered with a local organization to debut a food truck that will serve healthy, locally sourced lunch options for Madison high school students, according to The Capital Times .

The truck, which was donated by the Emmi Roth Cheese Co., will visit four high schools Tuesday through Friday, spending a day at each campus. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch can use the food truck as they would the school cafeteria for no-cost or discounted meals.

Members of MMSD and partner organization REAP Food...

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

FSD Resources