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Filling the snack gap

Snacking is on the rise, with 51 percent of consumers saying they snack at least twice a day, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report. That’s up from 48 percent in 2012. Yet restaurants are not taking full advantage of this trend. Technomic reports that 80 percent of snacks are sourced from retail stores, while only 20 percent are purchased from restaurants.

“Every daypart is a snack daypart,” Technomic claims in its 10 Foodservice Trends for 2014, but consumers perceive a lack of choices of snackable items at restaurants.

  • Only 21 percent of consumers agree that limited-service restaurants do a good job of offering items they would purchase as a snack
  • While more than half (54 percent) say they buy snacks from quick-service burger restaurants at least once every three months, just 20 percent patronize bakery cafés and 11 percent report buying snacks from other fast-casual restaurants with that frequency
  • By a sizable margin—66 percent—the Appetizers/Starters section of the menu is the leading area consumers look to for snacks

Offering smaller size sandwiches, flatbreads, healthy options and bite-size savory or sweet snacks is a winning strategy for targeting consumers’ diverse snacking interests and appetites. Technomic reports that consumers say they’re willing to pay up to $4.70 for a snack at a bakery café and as much $6.10 for a snack from another type of fast-casual restaurant. 

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