Utter the word “protein” to diners, and you’re likely to tap into both their health and taste desires. More consumers today than two years ago think that high-protein food tastes good, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report. Three-quarters of consumers think high-protein fare is very healthy, and two-fifths are more likely to purchase and pay more for it at restaurants. Consumers even find beef healthier now than in 2014 because it’s high in protein.
It makes sense, then, that more consumers now than two years ago say they are eating a variety of meats as snacks, according to Technomic’s new Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork and Poultry Consumer Trend Reports. Click through to uncover three ways meat is upping sales of snacks.
1. Chicken snacks
Nearly half of consumers (45%) say they eat chicken as a snack at least once a month, up slightly from 43% in 2015. Young consumers are driving chicken snack consumption: Three-fifths of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 (59%) say they eat chicken for a snack at least once a month, compared to half of that demographic two years ago (52%).
The most popular chicken snacks ordered at restaurants include chicken nuggets, strips and wings, according to Technomic. Chicken quesadillas and popcorn chicken are also common. Nearly all chicken snacks are more preferred among younger than older consumers.
Au Bon Pain revamped its most popular chicken lunch entree as a snack option last November. The new 200-calorie Balsamic Chicken Petit Plate features chicken, mozzarella, bruschetta, basil and a balsamic drizzle. Katherine See, vice president of culinary innovation, says Au Bon Pain’s Petit Plate sales have doubled in a year since it introduced the snacks.
2. Beef snacks
Consumers are eating more beef snacks on both a weekly and monthly basis. A third of consumers say they eat beef as a snack at least once a week, up from 28% in 2014. And two-thirds of consumers (67%) say they’re eating beef snacks at least once a month, compared to 61% in 2014.
3. Pork snacks
About a quarter of consumers say they snack on pork at least once a week (24%), a gain from 21% in 2014. And 56% of consumers say they snack on pork at least once a month, up from 52% in 2014. Men are more likely than women to indulge in both beef and pork snacks.
Dairy Queen recently rolled out a value snack menu that features a Chicken Bacon BBQ Snack Melt, combining chicken and pork in a high-protein wrap.