During the pandemic, comfort foods reigned supreme – consumers were looking for familiar and indulgent options for dinner, and for good reason. But now, as many return to their pre-pandemic routines, including returning to work and school, they are looking for other things when deciding where and what to eat. In fact, three big trends are driving sales: healthier options, plant-based choices, and global flavors are all top of mind when it comes to what consumers want to eat. Want some inspiration on how to offer these choices? Keep reading.
Better options for you
According to the recent Technomic study Healthy Eating Consumer Trends Report, consumers’ definition of health has expanded far beyond simply low-calorie or low-fat foods. These days, natural ingredients, low carb options, organic and local ingredients, unprocessed options, and preservative-free foods are all consumers are looking for when ordering healthy foods. Quality options throughout the day, including hearty, high-protein sandwiches for breakfast, tasty salads at lunchtime, and healthy options on the dinner menu – packed with protein, veggies or fruit and carbs – ensure that diners looking for healthier and better choices for you will have something to enjoy.
Another trend driving sales this year is plant-based. Although most consumers are neither vegetarians nor vegans, many are interested in trying meatless meals from time to time, according to Technomic. Plate Center 2021: Seafood and Vegetarian Consumer Trends Report, only about 2% of consumers are vegan and only about 3% are vegetarians, but 42% of consumers report eating vegetarian or vegan meals at least once a week. For diners looking for meatless, plant-based, or plant-based options, unique options like plantain slices or yuca (cassava) fries are perfect choices for a side dish. They provide the nutritional benefits that many consumers crave, while offering meat-free customers something new and exciting to look forward to.
Finally, global flavors are on the rise. Technomic is recent Global Food and Beverage Consumer Trends Report found that 38% of consumers say they enjoy exploring regional varieties of traditional cuisines so they can try new foods and flavors. And when serving cuisines from around the world, authenticity is key: Nearly half (47%) of consumers say authenticity is important when choosing which dining establishment to visit for food and drink of the whole world. For operators, building authenticity can be as simple as ensuring global and regional cheeses and other genuine ingredients are used. Crispy yuca puffs, for example, can be used in place of tater tots to provide a fun, globally-inspired side, and operators can offer sliced plantain alongside cooked beef and black beans for a delicious easy-to-prepare Cuban-inspired dish that keeps diners interested. with global flavors will love.
Operators looking to boost interest in their menus in a post-COVID-19 landscape should look to these trends – and their corresponding ingredients – when planning new meals and sides. MIC Food’s choice of ingredients, such as crispy yuca puffs, yuca fries and ripe plantain slices, makes it easy to offer all three trends – choices that are better for you, plant-based meals and global flavors – all at once. To learn more, visit www.micfood.com.
This post is sponsored by MIC Foods
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