Healthcare, C&U segments focus on plant-based snacks

plant based snacks
Photograph: Shutterstock

From Kellogg’s.

Plant-based dining is a global trend of increasing importance to consumers of all demographic groups, but two of the foodservice channels where it has emerged as particularly relevant are the college and university and healthcare segments.

The interest in plant-based dining is driven by evolving attitudes about healthy eating, along with increased consumer concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of meat production.

The trend also overlaps with increasing consumer interest in snacking, creating opportunities for foodservice operators in these segments to capitalize with plant-based products that provide healthy, convenient snacking solutions for customers on the go.

Broad definition of snacking

Millennial and Generation Z foodservice customers at colleges and universities and healthcare foodservice venues have embraced snacking and have broadened their definition of what constitutes a snack. A third of consumers—33 percent—ages 18-34 say that that their definition of what constitutes a snack now includes more types of foods, according to Technomic’s 2018 Snacking Occasion report.

These consumers are snacking throughout the day, and many are also seeking late-night snacks. In fact, 66 percent of millennials enjoy when operators offer late-night snack options, according to Mintel’s 2017 State of Snacking report. These “grazing” consumers are often replacing one or two traditional meals with multiple snacks, which underscores the need for operators to provide nutritious snacking options for their customers.

This increased interest in snacking throughout the day and night jibes with consumers’ focus on healthy and plant-based eating. Nearly a third of consumers—30 percent —say that snacking between meals is part of a healthy diet, the Technomic research found.

Plant-based snacking on the rise

The trend toward healthy snacking is only increasing: 25 percent of consumers who anticipate changes in their snacking behavior say they will eat healthier snacks, according to Technomic’s 2018 Snacking report.

The report found that 52 percent of consumers were seeking snacks that were high in protein, 48 percent want snacks that are energizing, 44 percent said they want snacks that are high in Vitamin C and 43 percent want snacks that are high in fiber—all of which are attributes that can be provided by plant-based snacks.

These are key findings for operators in the healthcare foodservice segment, where offering nutritious foodservice options supports the overall health halo these venues seek to create.

Across the foodservice spectrum, plant-based foods are increasingly playing a key role in consumers’ pursuit of healthier dining regimens. Technomic’s 2018 Global Megatrends report found that 34 percent of consumers globally say they tend to purchase vegetarian fare in restaurants—and an even larger group had adopted a flexitarian diet by reducing meat consumption for health or environmental reasons (or both).

Versatile ingredients are key

To satisfy consumer preferences, operators need ingredients that are healthy, versatile and easily modified to fit any daypart or eating occasion.

For example, the MorningStar Farms® Signature Protein Blend™ provides ample opportunities for menu innovation, from dishes such as Tomato Basil Mini Frittatas in the morning to Crunchy Quinoa Crusted Arancini for a late-night snack.

The MorningStar Farms® Signature Protein Blend™ can also be formed into patties or balls or used in stuffing. In addition, MorningStar Farms® Crumbles can be added to nachos and flatbreads to create the vegetarian dishes that ensure consumers don’t miss the meat.

For more inspiration, check out these featured recipes.
 

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
college students clean label

From Furmano’s.

As consumer preferences and definitions of what healthy eating means change, so do foodservice menus—and colleges are no exception. According to Technomic’s 2018 Healthy Eating report, 40% of consumers say their definitions of health have changed over the past two years, with some citing a shifting focus to eating a balanced diet rather than trying to eat sugar- or fat-free options. Some diners also say they are trying to be more aware of nutrients and vitamins, while others are looking for whole-grain and enriched options.

One of the biggest trends in...

Menu Development
Meal ingredients

Consumers are pretty well-educated about clean labels, gluten-free options and the value of vegetables in a healthy diet. That’s the baseline for operators in colleges and universities, as well as business and industry, healthcare and even senior living. But diners are continuing to evolve in their never-ending quests to eat healthier, with functional or “healing” foods gaining ground.

So finds Technomic’s recent Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , which reveals that eaters are seeking foods that boost the immune system, increase energy, improve digestion and relieve stress. In...

Industry News & Opinion

Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, Md., will be offering free lunch to students for two days during winter break, The Baltimore Sun reports.

This is the first time the district will be providing meals over winter break. The lunch will be served on Dec. 27 and 28 at two sites in the community.

About 22.2% of the district’s students are enrolled for free or reduced-price meals. The district served 66,276 meals last summer during its summer meal program .

Read the full story via baltimoresun.com .

Industry News & Opinion

Cranston School District in Cranston, R.I., has hired a collection agency to help reduce its lunch debt , NBC 10 reports.

The district’s chief operating officer sent a letter to parents saying that the district would be using a collection agency next year to collect outstanding lunch balances after other collection methods have failed. Parents who owe $20 or more and haven’t paid in the last 60 days will receive a letter from the agency starting Jan. 2, 2019.

Cranston accumulated $95,508 in unpaid lunch balances between Sept. 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. The district’s meal...

FSD Resources