Snacking and Healthier Options are on the Rise

October 30, 2015

pictureSnacking is a growing trend and consumers are snacking more frequently. About half of today’s consumers (51 percent) say they eat snacks at least twice a day and 31 percent say they’re snacking more frequently than they were two years ago.

According to Technomic, Americans also are broadening their definition of a snack to encompass a wider range of foods and beverages.

Smoothies are they a snack or a meal? According to Vitamix and ORC International, 59 percent is snack, 25 percent is part of a meal and 18 percent meal.

“Snacking occasions represent a growth channel for restaurant operators. The retail market is aggressively promoting snacks, but there’s plenty of room for restaurants to expand their snack programs and grab share. By providing more innovative, healthy and easily portable snacks, and boosting variety, restaurants can position themselves to increase incremental traffic and sales –particularly among a younger customer base.” Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic.

In an article by WholeFoods Magazine called “Healthy Snacking on the Rise in the US” this article reports that more Americans are snacking more than ever before – but are also make smarter snacking choices. In a recent survey taken, 33% of the survey population is snacking on healthier foods than they were last year. This number has steadily risen with time, and is something that only stands to increase with nearly a third of all parents surveyed mentioning that they are serving healthier snacks to their children.

What a great opportunity for any restaurant, café, juice or smoothie bar to take advantage of this growing trend. Now more than ever it is important to offer customers what they want and that is healthier options.

The healthy trend is also dominating menus. Gone are the days of serving only indulgent foods or offering calorie laden menu items. The most prominent industry buzzword over that last decade is healthy which appears in various forms on today’s menus. This change has been inspired by the growing public awareness of healthy attributes in food and consumers are leaning on restaurants to go beyond adding a side salad to create a healthy meal.


Has America FINALLY hit ‘peak pumpkin’?

October 28, 2015

pumpkinKatie Little
© 2015 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Division of NBCUniversal
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/02/has-america-finally-hit-peak-pumpkin.html

More than a decade after Starbucks helped make “pumpkin spice latte” a household name, there is some evidence that “peak pumpkin” may finally be coming to restaurants.

The country’s 500 biggest restaurants launched just 45 pumpkin flavored limited-time offerings, such as Dairy Queen’s Pumpkin Pie Blizzard Cake or Krispy Kreme’s Pumpkin Spice Doughnut, from January to September. That’s down 61 percent from 116 a year ago, according to data from Technomic.

“Although many consumers are still interested in pumpkin spice, recent years have shown heavy saturation with beverages and although the flavor is likely here to stay, the growth of the trend is starting to flatten showing we have reached maturity,” wrote Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic, in an email.

Overall promotions are shrinking as well, falling 11 percent as operators adopt a “less is more” attitude borrowed from fast-casual restaurant hits like Shake Shack and Chipotle.

“Brands are starting to discover the fact that consumers are experiencing new menu burnout,” Tristano wrote. “This year marked the first year in a decade that top chain restaurant menus declined in total menu offering.”

At the retail level, growth is also showing signs of slowing.

For the year ending July 26, sales of pumpkin-flavored items rose 11.6 percent, the slowest growth in at least three years, according to Nielsen data. Declines in pumpkin-flavored coffee, milk and frozen waffles, pancakes and French toast were especially steep. Still, pumpkin-flavored item sales remain a large market, clocking in at $360 million at retail outlets, including grocery and convenience stores.

So if pumpkin has reached saturation, which seasonal item will start to take share? This is difficult to predict, Tristano says, adding it’s possible other seasonal flavors like gingerbread, molasses, peppermint or eggnog could increase.


5 Things to Know About McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast

October 26, 2015

2015-10-26_0912Brad Tuttle
http://time.com/money/4062667/mcdonalds-all-day-breakfast/

The world changed at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

McDonald’s Launches All-Day BreakfastThese Are the Best and Worst McDonald’s Breakfast FoodsThe Unlikely Origin Story of the Egg McMuffin

For many years, McDonald’s said that it was pretty much impossible to serve all-day breakfast. The thinking was that the restaurants were too busy, and the kitchens were too small, to handle breakfast orders on top of burgers and the rest of the menu.

But after receiving tens of thousands of demands for all-day breakfast on social media—and after finding itself in a fairly desperate situation in which sales have declined substantially—McDonald’s has capitulated, and the era of all-day breakfast kicks off on Tuesday, October 6. That means that around the nation, McDonald’s customers can order breakfast items past the usual cut-off time of 10:30 a.m. So today, you can expect plenty of fast food enthusiasts to be enjoying McDonald’s breakfast for lunch, brunch, dinner, a mid-afternoon snack, and anything and everything in between.

Here are a handful of things to take note of concerning the arrival of McDonald’s all-day breakfast.

Only part of the breakfast menu is available all day. Because of the complications of adding breakfast to the menu alongside the rest of the usual afternoon options, McDonald’s is limiting the kinds of breakfast items available for the entire day. All-day menu options vary by location, though most will have a core selection of things like hot cakes, fruit and yogurt parfait, oatmeal, sausage burrito, and hash browns.

No Egg McMuffins in the South. The biggest “controversy” over McDonald’s all-day breakfast is that there is a sharp division of North and South. “Maybe the Mason-Dixon line should be renamed the Biscuit-McMuffin line,” industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News deadpanned. It was decided that Southern tastes prefer biscuits over McMuffins, and because it was too difficult for McDonald’s restaurants to serve both all day, locations had to go one way or the other. McMuffins rule most of the country, while the Southeast’s “Biscuit Belt” stretches through Appalachia, and from Louisiana east through to Georgia. Florida, however, has been declared McMuffin territory, presumably because the state is so full of transplants from other parts of the country.

The move is an unusual popular crowd pleaser for McDonald’s. The world’s biggest fast food burger joint has become a magnet for haters over the years, with McDonald’s serving as a high-profile punching bag for anyone who has a beef with obesity, poverty, nutrition, environmental issues, and beyond. So the fact that the switch to all-day breakfast is generating McDonald’s praise by the masses is a very big deal. “This is the consumers’ idea. This is what they want us to do,” McDonald’s president Michael Andres told the Wall Street Journal last month. “That’s why I think this could be the catalyst for our turnaround.”

AdAge noted that McDonald’s new ad campaign highlights the idea that all-day breakfast was driven by customer demands, with people reading random Tweets sent out about the big change: Some McDonald’s are offering freebies to celebrate. While there is no national promotion heralding the era of all-day breakfast, McDonald’s in various parts of the country are hosting specials. On Monday, for instance, a McDonald’s-Uber partnership was offering free delivery of McDonald’s food to customers in the greater Miami area. On Wednesday, Colorado McDonald’s are hosting a special “PJ Day,” in which customers who wear pajamas into restaurants will be rewarded with a free Egg McMuffin; “5 a.m. to midnight offer, shirts and shoes required,” the promotion stipulates.

While popular, all-day breakfast could backfire. McDonald’s is somewhat in danger of cannibalizing sales with all-day breakfast—and because breakfast items are generally cheaper than burgers and sandwiches, profits could remain flat, or even decrease. “The lower check average [of breakfast items] doesn’t drive the margin as much as higher-priced items like premium burgers,” Darren Tristano, an executive vice president at Technomic, explained to CBS News.


Is the Shift to All-Day Breakfast a Good Business Move for Mcdonald’s?

October 9, 2015

pictureKelsey Dallas
http://newsok.com/is-the-shift-to-all-day-breakfast-a-good-business-move-for-mcdonalds/article/5452066/?page=2

Many McDonald’s fans are celebrating the increased availability of breakfast foods, but the change could cost the fast-food chain.

McDonald’s now offers all-day breakfast at its U.S. locations, thrilling Egg McMuffin lovers across the country. However, business analysts are giving the menu adjustment mixed reviews, noting that the popular change could actually hurt the restaurant’s bottom line.

“The lower check average doesn’t drive the margin as much as higher-priced items like premium burgers,” said Darren Tristano, an executive vice president at Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm, to CBS MoneyWatch.

In other words, increasing the availability of breakfast foods will likely bring more people into the restaurant, but they’ll be spending less than they would on the company’s traditional lunch or breakfast options, Time reported.

“McDonald’s is somewhat in danger of cannibalizing sales with all-day breakfast,” the article noted.

However, this appears to be a risk the world’s largest fast-food chain is willing to take, as pressure mounts for the company to increase wages and healthy eating campaigns hurt the restaurant’s popularity. In the first three months of 2015, sales at U.S. McDonald’s fell 2.6 percent compared with the same period in 2014, Fortune reported in April.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is optimistic about the potential effects of the breakfast expansion, even as he highlights the need for more creative solutions, according to CBS MoneyWatch.

“During McDonald’s latest quarterly earnings call, Easterbrook tried to keep Wall Street’s expectations for all-day breakfast modest, noting that the initiative isn’t a ‘silver bullet’ to solve every problem,” the article noted. “But it will help satisfy that midday (or midnight) craving for an Egg McMuffin.”

On Tuesday, when all-day breakfast became available at all 14,300 U.S. McDonald’s locations, social media sites were buzzing with reactions to the #AllDayBreakfast menu adjustments, and not all eaters were satisfied.

As CNBC noted in its coverage of the breakfast rollout, “just half of McDonald’s 24 total breakfast items are available as part of the full-day menu.” Fans of the McGriddle or Egg White Delight McMuffin will still be constrained by the old 10:30 a.m. deadline.