Capitalizing on In-Store Meal Options

The on-demand dining trend is transforming the way America eats today. Between restaurant delivery services, home meal replacements and in-retail restaurants, the foodservice industry is changing rapidly to meet consumer demand for quick, convenient meals.

At the core of this trend is the desire for customization and convenience. More consumers are shifting away from the traditional breakfast-lunch-dinner routine, choosing to eat more often during the day and during non-traditional dayparts, such as brunch, snacks and late-night meals. These shifts lead to major changes for restaurants and home meal replacements during the traditional dayparts. In fact, the National Restaurant Association reported that customer traffic actually contracted in 2018. By the fourth quarter of 2018, traffic was down 1.6% according to TDn2K data.

Consumers don’t turn to restaurants as a solution for their hunger nearly as much as in the past. Options for food are everywhere, and retailers are stepping up to capture Share of Stomach.

According to a 2018 Mintel report, nearly three in four consumers who have dined away from home for a snack, dessert, happy hour or late-night occasion in the past three months also purchased a meal from that retailer in the past three months. Retailers that can be a one-stop shop for consumers wanting a quick meal solution now in addition to meeting the grocery needs for the future are poised to benefit from this changing trend.

Knowing more attention is being paid to retailers, we in the pork industry should pounce on the opportunity to incorporate more pork offerings. Many in-store restaurants already tap into the Millennial and Gen Z desire for ethnic flavors, and pork can seamlessly integrate into many dishes – think Cuban or banh mi sandwiches, carnitas tacos, or pork belly ramen. Entrees like these are great for a quick sit-down meal or can be taken to-go.

Our upcoming All About Dining Out: What’s on Trend report finds diners want to see more pork offered on more menus. Retailers should provide a variety of convenient meals and flavors, as well as individually sized portions. Value packs are great for those with a family or someone who wants leftovers, but we can’t forget about the people who are just coming in to grab a quick bite for one or two.

More than anything, on-demand dining is giving pork the chance to show its versatility. As we know from our Dinner at Home in America report, consumers aren’t always sure what to do with pork or how to prepare it. By providing more pork offerings and showing consumers how to prepare their favorite pork dishes at home, we could not only increase pork consumption, but at-home trial as well.

Let’s discuss how the Pork Board can assist you with in-store meal solutions!