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A guide to grab-and-go foodservice

Photograph: Shutterstock

Consumers are looking for more flexibility and customization in their dining options, no matter where they’re eating. As a result, noncommercial foodservice operators on campuses, in company cafes and at healthcare facilities across the country are looking to grab-and-go options to stay ahead of guest demand.

The trick? Finding the right craveable and convenient items to stock grab-and-go display units.

Diners’ schedules are unique. Their hunger and free time don’t necessarily line up with eating three square meals a day, making snacking a focus for consumers and operators alike. In fact, 80% of consumers say they snack at least once a day, according to Technomic’s 2018 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report. Stocking a grab-and-go area where guests can nab a granola bar between lunch and dinner or pick up a smaller entree for an early dinner will cater to all types of schedules and needs. For instance, stocking ready-to-eat single-serving items such chicken pot pies, wraps or pizza puffs during all daytime hours means guests can right-size their meal to their schedule—no need to wait until lunch or dinner service begins.

Beyond a flexible eating schedule, Technomic’s Snacking Occasion report also found that 48% of consumers say an item’s portability drives their purchasing decisions. Operators should lean heavy on items that can be eaten on the go, are handheld or can be easily brought to another location. Half of consumers also report that they are more likely to choose a food product based on speed of preparation, according to the Snacking Occasion report. Grab-and-go items that have ready-to-bake ease and have a ready-to-eat designation, such as Stouffer’s Chicken Pot Pies, are particularly suited to satisfy consumer cravings and desire for quick service.  

Although items that cater to snacking, portability and convenience are poised to be popular grab-and-go items, taste is always going to be a motivating factor for consumers. Specifically, 81% of consumers say flavor or taste is a purchase-driver for snacks, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion report. Additionally, 67% of consumers say food and beverages that are described as “homemade” or “housemade” are slightly or much more tasty than other options, according to Technomic’s 2018 Health Eating Consumer Trend Report. Chicken pot pie, with a comfort food taste reminiscent of dishes made in home kitchens, delivers on craveability while also offering convenience and portability. What’s more, Stouffer’s pot pies are made without artificial flavors or colors (added colors from natural sources), making them an ideal choice for those diners looking for better-for-you options.

For healthcare, education and industry foodservice, grab-and-go is becoming more than common—it’s becoming expected. Cater to late-risers and all-day eating by giving guests the option to have scratch-made taste whenever they crave it.

This post is sponsored by Stouffer’s®

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