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Consumer Trends

Consumer trends, insights and preferences

Consumer Trends

What's most likely to spur consumer cravings?

Cooking demos and on-premise ads aren’t doing it for most diners, but these five things are.

Consumer Trends

7 new Instagram-worthy tableside service flourishes

From a meat & potato martini to nitrogen-cooled ice cream, operators are adding buzzworthy at-the-table presentations that are ready for their social-media close-up.

Although the economy may be improving, research by the Nielsen Company illustrates that consumers are still being cautious when it comes to buying alcohol. This trend has led to more people staying in and purchasing less expensive products.

Good old-fashioned cookies and cake will never go out of style, but these classics must now compete with trendy treats that capture the collective sweet-tooth. According to The Food Channel’s “Top 10 Dessert Trends for 2010” list, bite-size chocolate cake, beer for dessert and new flavor combinations are just some of the latest sweets to come out of the pastry kitchen.

While many restaurants suffered during the economic slump, fast casual chains prospered. As defined by The NPD Group, fast casual restaurants are upscale quickservice spots that offer more service, higher quality food and cost more than other fast food outlets.

Drive-thru windows at quickservice restaurants are essential to the American eating style—and essential to QSR profitability. According to the NPD Group, there were 12.4 billion restaurant visits via drive-thru windows in 2011— a 2% increase from the prior year.

Providing smaller portion options could do more to curb calorie consumption in restaurants than the now-widespread approach of posting nutrition information on menus, according to a new study.

The natural food and beverage market—now valued at $127 billion—has reached a new stage in its maturity. “The world of health and wellness is changing dramatically and rapidly, and the natural products industry is positioned as a leading crucible through which we can watch this world unravel and rebuild itself,” says Carlotta Mast, chief author of NEXT: The Natural Products Industry Forecast, compiled by Nutrition Business Journal and the Sterling-Rice Group.

Among the U.S. Hispanic population, Millennials’ food choices reflect cultural preferences, according to the NPD’s NET (National Eating Trends) Hispanic research. This 22- to 35 year-old age group, which comprises 65% of the Hispanic population in the United States, includes Hispanic dishes in 7% of all meals. The research shows that they gravitate toward ready-to eat, fresh and from scratch foods both away from home and at home.

Assessments of consumer preferences repeatedly turned during a conference this week for limited-service operators to observations that experience is outshining food as a customer draw.

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