Taste, Tech, Transparency: 3 Key Foodservice Trends

As the world becomes more connected, what and how we eat continues to evolve. We’re not only exposed to different types of food, but different opinions, behaviors and techniques for both preparing and speaking about food.

While we’ve already detailed the forces driving at-home pork use in America, we need to pay equal attention to how consumers eat away from home.

That’s why we’re excited to announce our latest report, All About Dining Out: What’s On Trend.

This new report delves into the needs and occasions that shape away-from-home dining decisions. In addition, the report details macro trends in foodservice that should be top of mind for those in the pork industry. As a preview, here are three to keep an eye on:

Global Tastes: Global flavors and cuisines continue to dominate more menus across the United States. Our research found that more than one in four consumers (27%) consistently look for something new to eat. In addition, Mintel’s 2018 Flavor Innovation on the Menu report finds that one-third of diners are adventurous when it comes to trendy, international flavors. These trends point to more opportunities for pork, which is already a staple in Latin and Asian cuisines.

By tapping into the desire for dishes from abroad, or adding new flavors to traditional dishes, we have an opportunity to win over consumers who don’t normally consume pork. We already know consumers view pork as an indulgence away from home, so if we can combine that feeling with the new tastes they crave, we could spark more pork trial.

Greater Transparency: More than ever before, consumers expect complete transparency from food companies. This not only applies to ingredients and preparation methods, but manufacturers’ entire mission statements as well. Consumers want to know more about how their food was made and where it comes from simply by looking at the label.

In an environmentally conscious marketplace, this is especially important for pork. According to Mintel’s 2019 Global Food and Drink Trends report, 53% of U.S. consumers believe plant-based foods are better for the environment than animal-based options. It’s critical for us to add more detail to our pork packaging. Simple descriptions of how the pork was raised and what farm it came from could go a long way in the eyes of consumers and could help combat negative, incorrect perceptions.

Growing Tech Use: As more consumers shift away from traditional meal times and look for meals when and where they want them, new technologies are helping improve efficiency at restaurants and grab-and-go markets. Mobile ordering is growing — a Market Force Information survey of quick-service restaurant customers found nearly 40% had placed an app food order in the last 90 days, compared to just 11% in 2015. Mobile and app ordering is changing everything from the ordering process, to POS systems, to how food is packaged, which means that providing a simple, straightforward, quality experience in as little time as possible is essential for operators.

Companies like Amazon will continue to change how we think about the meal-buying process, and we must ensure pork is available in as many fresh, pre-made dishes and flavors as possible. We need to think beyond the basic meals like a ham and cheese sandwich and pork chops, work directly with restaurants and markets to determine what meals their customers are purchasing and find a way to incorporate more pork into those offerings. Pork can succeed in a world of speed, but it’s up to us to determine which dishes can help it thrive.

The wealth of information in
All About Dining Out
can create opportunities for success.
Let’s talk!

Angie Krieger

Angie Krieger

Assistant Vice President, Channel Outreach

National Pork Board Cell: 319-594-4000 akrieger@pork.org