Sixty Six percent of Americans say the snack between meals in 2014. Call it will you will, small meals, snacking, gap-meals, price-points, or fill-ups consumers are electing to drive food retail frequency numbers increasingly looking for a meal substitute.
In a new Packaged Facts study found eating less was better for you and restaurants agree. The study found that “Restaurant menu innovation clearly acknowledges the blurring of traditional mealtimes in favor of snacking and smaller meals.”
Packaged Facts found that “a snack is often viewed as a healthier alternative to an entire meal; snacks cost less than typical entrees, appealing to cost-conscious patrons; and snacks are suitable for today's 24/7 on-the-go consumers, who are less inclined to plan their day around traditional mealtimes.”
Packaged Facts identifies five trends at play in marketing menu items as being a viable snack or shareable innovation:
- Mini items. Smaller versions of entrées and classic menu items remain at the forefront of snack/small plate menu innovation.
- Bites. Bite-sized items help restaurant-goers balance indulgence with moderation. Bite-sized menu item innovation caters to a range of "poppable" savory eats.
- Sliders. While sliders have become an appetizer menu stalwart, they have also branched well beyond the confines of the burger.
- Sampler platters. Sampler platters allow more customers to get greater variety while managing their cost per party. And restaurant operators can showcase their signature items in the bargain. Modernizing sampler platters translates to customizable options, signature items and creative sauces.
- Shareable items. While sampler platters are designed for sharing and often promoted as such, restaurant operators are also positioning regular menu items as "shareable."