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Technomic: Beverage Category Ripe with Opportunity
Beverages have always played a significant role in foodservice and the category is continuously evolving. Technomic’s recently released Away-from-Home Beverage Study covers how consumer demands and business conditions have shifted within the past few years.
“Beverage growth has outpaced that of foodservice within the past few years thanks to innovative options such as nitro coffee, plant-based milks and other alternative beverages entering this space,” explains David Henkes, principal at Technomic. “Although challenges like third-party delivery are encroaching on beverage occasions, the category has a lot of opportunities available through offering a wide variety of innovative beverage options to their guests.”
Key takeaways from the report include...
Innovation is Bringing New Excitement to the Burger Category in Canada
More Canadians today than a year ago say they’re ordering burgers from foodservice at least once a month, and the growth of the LSR burger category is outpacing the industry. In the 2019 Canadian Burger Consumer Trend Report, Technomic dives into the factors at play, including innovations such as plant-based burgers and unique flavour profiles.
“The bigger the burger category gets, the more important it is that operators maintain points of differentiation,” explains Charles Winship, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Responding to demands for plant-based options as well as spicier, bolder flavours will be critical as brands look to offer burgers that truly stand out.”
Technomic: Shifting Definitions of Value Increasingly Include Food Quality and Service
Value remains a vital component in the path to purchase, with 76% of consumers saying it’s a very important factor when deciding where to dine. Technomic’s 2019 Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report also reveals that roughly one-quarter of consumers say their definition of value has changed over the past two years, with food quality and service, in particular, playing an increasing role in the value proposition.
“As definitions of value continue to evolve, operators will need to renew their focus on meeting, if not exceeding, expectations across all aspects of the value equation—food quality, price, service and atmosphere,” explains Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Moving forward, look for high-traffic, high-volume segments like fast food to further experiment with subscription models, such as...
Technomic: Burgers Risk Losing Affordable Reputation
Burgers are often thought of as being more affordable than other menu items, but as prices continue to rise at a faster rate than the average entree, this view may start shifting. Notably, these price increases are true across a variety of burger types, including bacon cheeseburgers, veggie burgers and specialty burgers. Technomic’s 2019 Burger Consumer Trend Report examines the factors at play.
“Price increases are offering operators a form of relief as they struggle with rising labor and delivery costs, as well as limited growth through traffic,” explains Charles Winship, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “But continued price increases for burgers could ultimately cut into perceptions around their affordability and push consumers toward other options.”
Competition Heats Up in Canada as Emerging Channels Enter the Playing Field
Emerging channels in Canada are delivering a new wave of competition for traditional foodservice operators. Technomic’s 2019 Canadian Emerging Channels Consumer Trend Report explores these new players, covering everything from food halls to meal kits. While usage of these channels is currently low overall, there is strong appeal among younger consumers. This, along with future expansion plans, means that emerging channels are poised to steal share from restaurants moving forward.
“For younger consumers, a wider variety of need states compared to older consumers and a greater willingness to experiment and try new things leads to greater usage of emerging channels,” explains Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Moving forward, the broad nature of these channels means competition on multiple fronts. Food halls and food trucks will be the greatest threat for lunch occasions, while eatertainment and meal kits will...
Technomic: Students’ Foodservice Demands Grow Both On and Off Campus
Delivery, technology and health trends are changing the foodservice landscape and younger generations are leading this charge. Technomic’s 2019 College & University Consumer Trend Report explores this segment in depth, providing actionable recommendations for operators and suppliers to get ahead of the challenges and competition.
“Students have high expectations from their foodservice experiences both on and off campus. Delivery, convenience and menu innovation are all top priorities for college and university students,” explains Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “On top of this, they will choose companies that support causes they care about such as...
Technomic: Canadians’ Routines and Habits Present Challenges for Emerging Bakery and Coffee Cafes
In the 2019 Canadian Bakery & Coffee Cafe Consumer Trend Report, Technomic found that many coffee cafe customers stick to the same restaurant brand and, oftentimes, the same cafe location, due to their coffee preferences and demands for convenience. On the other hand, bakery-cafe customers are open to mixing up the brands they visit, challenging these operators to build up loyal customer bases.
“For emerging coffee cafes, the challenge is in getting consumers to break from their routines and try something new,” explains Charles Winship, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “While specials and limited-time offers can help draw in new visitors, whether these guests habitually return will ultimately come down to value, convenience and, in many cases, coffee.”
Technomic: Restaurants Brace for Increased Competition as Emerging Channels Continue to Expand
While usage of emerging channels is still low overall compared to traditional foodservice segments, strong appeal among younger consumers and continued nationwide expansion by these channels means increased competition for restaurants moving forward. Technomic's 2019 Emerging Channels Consumer Trend Report explores primary and secondary emerging channels, and covers the unique challenges and opportunities that each channel faces.
"Restaurant operators will have to pick and choose how to compete as variety and uniqueness are currently competitive advantages for emerging channels...
Technomic: Shifting Consumption Impacts Menu Offerings in Canada
While red meat continues to maintain strong interest among consumers, growing concerns for health and sustainability are having an increasing impact on these staples in Canada, Technomic reveals in the 2019 Canadian Centre of the Plate Consumer Trend Report. The growing popularity of alternative proteins will increasingly encroach on beef and pork’s share of the plate.
“We are seeing a rise in vegetarian or vegan dishes which have primarily impacted beef and pork consumption. But the impact will broaden going forward as plant-based substitutes emerge for other categories,” explains Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Consumers are far more likely to ...
Technomic's Take: Five Ways Legal Marijuana Impacts Restaurants
Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states, with as many as 12 more expected to approve in the next 18 months. Pressure from changing social norms, product marketers and the mind-boggling tax revenue potential is likely to prompt the federal government to change marijuana’s classification by 2023 at the latest, opening the door for a cannabis boom.
Current recreational use regulations largely prohibit marijuana and cannabis consumption in public spaces, including away-from-home establishments, particularly those where ...
Technomic: Growing Chains Keep Chicken in the Spotlight while Turkey Struggles with Momentum
Technomic's 2019 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report shows that innovation is necessary for turkey dishes to be at the forefront of consumers' minds year-round. Craveable preparations, particularly outside the holiday season, could encourage more diners to consider turkey dishes, according to the report. Meanwhile, chicken remains a staple of the American diet, and consumers' love for the protein shows no signs of slowing.
"At a time when growth is hard to come by, the limited-service chicken category is performing exceptionally well," explains Charles Winship, senior research analyst at Technomic. "The category's growth has ramifications across ...
Canadian Retailers are Set to Compete with a Wider Array of Restaurants Via Prepared Food Offerings
Retailer meal solutions are transforming the foodservice landscape, Technomic reveals in the 2019 Canadian Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report. With increasingly upscale offerings and even in-store restaurants offered by some, lines continue to blur between retailers and restaurants as competition heats up for both limited-service and full-service operators.
“For retailers, on-demand offerings such as the ability to order prepared foods online for pickup or delivery will be key to keeping pace with the restaurant industry as consumers increasingly expect these offerings from foodservice in general,” explains Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Retailers will also need to strike a balance between offering affordable grab-and-go options and increasing efforts to become ...
Technomic Reports that Foodservice Achieved Strong Sales Growth in 2018
According to Technomic's 2019 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Advance Report, restaurant chains achieved stronger sales growth in 2018 than what was observed the prior year. This growth comes despite diminishing consumer foot traffic, labor challenges, and volatile operating conditions. For 2018, cumulative sales for the top 500 chains grew to $318 billion. Meanwhile, sales growth for casual dining rebounded to 1.3% in 2018, after dipping to 0.3% in 2017. Fast casual remains to be the fastest growing segment, increasing its sales 7.3% for the year. While sales have seen increased growth, new locations growth fell to a rate of 0.7% in 2018.
Also, total U.S. sales for the top quick service food chains is above $10 billion, whereas last year ...
Technomic Reports Consumption of Meatless Dishes Remains Strong
More consumers now than in 2016 say they are following restrictive specialty diets, Technomic discovered in the 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood and Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report. While a significant majority of consumers do not follow a specialty diet, those who do are most likely to classify themselves with flexible terms such as “semivegetarian” or “flexitarian.”
“This desire for flexibility highlights the fact that dietary lifestyle choices are often not all-or-nothing decisions for consumers,” explains Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Semivegetarian and flexitarian diets appeal to those who aspire to eat healthier while still providing leeway to splurge on meat or seafood occasionally. To cater to shifting behaviors, operators can offer protein substitutes for certain dishes or create a handful of build-your-own options that give consumers an even greater level of control.” Key takeaways from the report include ...
Technomic Finds Sustainability Concerns and Alternative Proteins Shift Dynamic for Beef and Pork
Beef and pork have long been staples of Americans’ plates but with growing sustainability and health concerns, shifts are taking place in this category. Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Beef and Pork Consumer Trend Report explores how the rise of popularity in alternative proteins and the transparency of animal treatment are affecting consumers’ preferences.
“While demand for beef and pork still remains strong, consumers report a slight decline in consumption of these proteins over the past two years due to the growth in health and sustainability concerns,” explains Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Adjusting to consumers’ evolving approach to beef and pork consumption will be vital to growing sales. Focus should be placed on innovative and ...
Niche Brand Positionings can Help Canadian Restaurants Combat Traffic Challenges
Canadian consumers are visiting full-service restaurants slightly less frequently now than they were two years ago, Technomic reveals in the 2019 Canadian Future of FSR Consumer Trend Report. Likewise, sales growth for leading family-style and casual-dining chains is trailing the Top 200 chain average. To drive traffic and sales, FSR operators may want to look internally to pinpoint unique offerings and points of differentiation that will help them stand out from the competition.
“With fast casuals still growing quickly and newer channels like food halls and retail foodservice emerging, full-service operators are facing higher levels of competition ...
Technomic's Take: 4 Global Trends for 2019
In order to keep up in foodservice, it’s important to always be forward-thinking. What will be the next big trend? What flavors are on the rise? What’s the next packaging enemy after plastic straws? Technomic recently released the top seven flavor trends to keep an eye out for in 2019, but we decided to take our predictive abilities beyond that, looking at what’s in store for restaurants on a global level this year.
Consumers’ lifestyles across the world are becoming busier and their needs are more demanding. From functional menu items to eco-friendly packaging, let’s look at the broader view of foodservice trends. Explore four key trends we predict will be showcased within restaurant menus, service strategies and best practices in 2019 ...
Technomic: Increased Delivery Usage Shows Potential for Driving Incremental Occasions
Consumers who are relying more heavily on delivery than in the past report a net increase in the number of orders they are placing overall, according to the 2018 Takeout & Off-Premise Consumer Trend Report. For operators, this may ease concerns with regards to the potential cannibalization of dine-in or carryout occasions.
“Among those who have increased their usage of takeout since 2016, ease of use with regards to mobile apps and websites is increasingly cited as a driving force behind this,” says Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Moving forward, look for third-party delivery companies to seek out greater brand loyalty from consumers by offering subscription-based packages that provide exclusive perks beyond simply waiving delivery fees.”
Additional key takeaways from the report include...
Full-service Restaurants Look to Bounce Back and Establish New Growth Strategies for Future Success
The full-service segment—and casual dining in particular—has faced numerous challenges over the past several years, but cautious optimism is emerging as some turnaround efforts gain traction. Technomic’s 2018 Future of FSR Consumer Trend Report finds that while the segment isn’t out of the woods, increased emphasis on value, off-premise sales, alcohol and memorable away-from-home experiences is helping the category move in the right direction.
“Following a year in which the total unit count for Top 500 casual-dining chains declined 1.5%, some brands are starting to see positive signs at the unit level,” explains Charles Winship, senior research analyst at Technomic. “As the segment’s turnaround continues, efforts will turn to cultivating sustainable, long-term growth strategies that avoid the issues that led to casual dining’s downturn to begin with, such as weak value propositions, an oversupply of restaurants and failing to evolve with consumers’ dining habits.”
Consumers Increasingly Making Food Choices Based on Personal Definition of Health
Consumers are increasingly taking on a more personalized, holistic view of health. They’re making food and beverage choices based on their personal definition of health, such as food described as natural, organic, high in protein or functional (e.g., items to help boost energy or de-stress). However, the 2018 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows that despite abiding by these health definitions, consumers may still reconsider their restaurant orders if they think an item has too many calories. These views have implications for restaurants, especially as some restaurants are now required to post calorie counts and consumers increasingly rely on foodservice for meals.
“The foodservice landscape will become more competitive when it comes to tastier, more innovative healthy menu offerings,” says Maia Chang, senior research analyst at Technomic. “This means that...
Canadian C-Stores Will Bring Quality into Focus to Drive Foodservice Sales
As Canadians continuously seek out convenient meal solutions, foodservice remains an area ripe with opportunity for convenience stores. C-stores already have the benefit of convenience and reasonable pricing but there is more to the picture for today’s consumers. Technomic’s 2018 Canadian Convenience-Store Foodservice Consumer Trend Report highlights ways that c-stores can round out their value equation by putting more emphasis on quality, customer service and ambiance to keep up with consumers’ needs and maintain share of sales.
“To fully capitalize on foodservice opportunities, brands must address consumers’ lingering concerns about the quality and freshness of prepared foods and beverages at c-stores,” explains Charles Winship, senior research analyst of consumer insights at Technomic. “The most reliable way for c-stores to convey quality and freshness is by utilizing real ingredients and leveraging transparency so consumers know how, when and where items are prepared.”
Preview highlights from the report...
Technomic’s Take: 7 Key Trends for 2019
It seems that every shift to the restaurant landscape brings with it a whole host of new questions: What is the next hot flavor trend to watch? Which segment truly owns convenience? What is today’s definition of health? What type of technology is up and coming next?
As consumer preferences cycle forward at a furious pace, restaurant operators and their partners are working to meet next-level expectations for everything from food and flavors to brand transparency.
Technomic looked into our crystal ball at a set of wide-ranging factors affecting the restaurant industry and compiled seven key trends that are sure to gain traction over the next year and beyond. "These industry trends are converging at a time of great disruption and opportunity for restaurant chains," said Joe Pawlak, managing principal, advisory group, Technomic. "From the menu to service amenities, consumer demands are intensifying. From our perspective, companies that invest in meeting these needs are in the best position to reap rewards in 2019."
Let's take a closer look at the trends that we predict will have a lasting impact on restaurant menus, service strategies and best practices in 2019...
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