Snack sales are on the rise as consumer spending shifts

Consumer habits are shifting and while meals are still important, of course, many customers have prioritized snacking as part of their daily lives. 29 per cent of people say that the last snacks they consumed were a meal replacement, with 74 per cent of people replacing at least one meal with a snack on a weekly basis.

These days, snacks don’t just mean a grab-and-go item from the convenience store, consumers describe their snack as anything from hotdogs to eggs. What this means for operators is that there’s an opportunity to transform some of your menu items into smaller portions to address this trend. Recently, 96 per cent of restaurants that added new snacks to the menu said that these additions met or beat their sales expectations.

These smaller portions can be a way for restaurants to get creative and use up ingredients that you have remaining in your kitchen, or to try out some new menu items in snack form to gauge consumer interest in new flavours. Either way, customers are looking for snacks and restaurants adopting that trend will get a leg up on the competition.

With health and wellness on the rise, customers are looking for healthier versions of their favourite foods, along with the convenience of something smaller and quicker to consume. Not all top snack choices are junk food, healthy snacks also have their place. Think about adding protein bars, smoothies, or simply adapting a ‘snack size’ menu featuring smaller versions of your customers’ top choices. This approach can not only offer customers a smaller portion, but it can also be perceived as better value, while your restaurant still raises revenues.

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If you are looking to add something that customers can grab and go, consider the trends, making plant-based options, sustainable packaging, local production, and global flavours to start. For Q2, late-night showed a 7.5 per cent increase in traffic year-over-year, so adding a snack menu to serve this daypart might make sense for your restaurant.

Whether you are adding smaller portions, snacking options, or offering something to customers visiting later, snacks are becoming more and more popular, and restaurants can certainly benefit from that consumer trend.