How to creatively cater to snackers

smoothie snack beverage

From Dannon Foodservice.

Got the munchies? It seems everyone does. In fact, 83% of consumers say they now snack every day, according to Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report.

And young millennials are leading the charge with the demand for portable options.

Some 22% of students said they would purchase a meal plan if their school offered upgraded grab-and-go options, and 20% of them said more late-night snacking choices would get them to buy in to a meal plan, according to Technomic’s recent College & University Consumer Trend Report.

Clearly, the snacking market is here to stay. So how are operators capitalizing on this opportunity?

Growing numbers of quick-serve restaurants are offering snackified versions of menu items, as well as yogurt parfaits, snack wraps and more to cater to these on-the-go eaters.

At colleges and universities, students seek out a mix of indulgent and better-for-you snacks, foodservice directors say.

Plus, the notion of snacking itself is changing. Some 38% of young consumers say their definition of snacks now includes more types of food than it did a couple of years ago, according to Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report.

Snacks can be a great way to play in to the latest food trends. Look for ways to offer local foods, for example, either via snacks produced by area companies or through grab-and-go fruit and vegetable offerings from local farmers.

On-trend global fare can also be positioned as a snack, in the form of fusion sliders, street tacos or portable kebabs.

Furthermore, today’s consumers are paying attention to nutrition information, so look for snacks that offer a healthy mix of protein, good fats, whole grains and fiber. Popular choices include grab-and-go yogurt parfaits, smoothies, peanut butter and pretzels, or veggies and hummus.

And always keep snacks in mind when planning foodservice menus. Each recipe created for dining halls can be designed with snack options in mind. Snack offerings can be a great way to reduce food waste. Young consumers, especially, value a commitment to sustainability, so be sure to call out your food-waste reduction effort in student communications.

Portable grab-and-go snacks also need to be eye-catching. Look for bright colors and easy-to-use, low-mess packaging. Pay attention to the flow of traffic on campus when it comes to selling snacks. Consider adding mobile carts or kiosks to maximize snack sales in high-traffic areas.

Your consumers want snacks. Boosting your snacking game will spell increased sales of these on-the-go options.

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