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Consumers want 'food with a story'

sustainability foodservice

When consumers make meal choices, they base their decisions on several factors, such as flavors their taste buds desire, their budget and dietary preferences.

But they also look for foods that they can feel good about eating. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, 45% of consumers say that they believe a food/beverage described as “authentic” will be tastier. To appeal to customers who are looking for something “real” or “natural,” some quick-service and fast-casual restaurant operators are offering products from brands with a known legacy.

Chips may seem just like any other snack, for example, but when those chips are made by a company that started small and worked its way up, consumers aren’t just buying the snack—they’re buying into the brand’s history as well as participating in its future success. Consumers enjoy participating in a brand’s heritage, and operators know that by offering these brands, their customers feel good about their purchase.

“We know that consumers typically have their favorite sandwich shop, and if they can’t find a brand of chips that they’re familiar with—or that they feel good about supporting at those sandwich shops—then it’s disappointing,” says Rich Blazevich, senior director of marketing, Miss Vickie’s. “We are proud to offer our operator partners a product that people have positive associations with, as Miss Vickie’s has a well-known legacy and heritage in sandwich shops.”

Miss Vickie’s is a company that started humbly with just two people on a potato farm, and that modest beginning is a story that consumers love. “People feel good about the fact that the product was born on a farm. They like that it’s a brand with a down-to-earth heritage,” Blazevich says.

Brands with rich legacies often describe their products in ways that highlight that story—using descriptions such as “home-style” to indicate an attentive, artisan preparation, or “authentic” to call out that their product is the real deal. For menu items described as home-style, the draw is undeniable—according to Technomic MenuMonitor data, incidents of “home-style chips” have gone up 186% in the past year alone. And since 65% of consumers purchase potato chips at least occasionally, according to Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, it can be beneficial to operators to offer these more premium options from brands with storied pasts.

At fast-casual restaurants, appealing to consumers’ cravings for good food, as well as food they feel good about, is important. By offering brands with an authentic heritage, operators appeal to consumers’ desire to purchase food they’ll love eating. 

This post is sponsored by Miss Vickie's

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