During shelter-in-place restrictions, 50% of consumers reported that they were eating/cooking healthier foods more often, which opens up an opportunity for grocers to make the most of a “healthier food” mindset.
Datassential’s Menu Adoption Cycle highlights suggestions for exploring better-for-you options ranging from the novel (Inception) to the mainstream (Ubiquity). Let’s investigate some better-for-you foods and ingredients with versatile applications making an impact with consumers in search of healthy halos to build a better-for-you grocery perimeter.
MAC stage: Inception – International markets, global independents and fine dining. Trends start here and exemplify originality in flavor, preparation and presentation.
Hailing from Central and South America, these small bright-purple berries are the superstars of better-for-you foods. Açai has taken off on menus in smoothies, smoothie bowls and beverages. Consumed as juice, in smoothies or even as an inclusion in breakfast options, the fruit lends a healthy halo with a premium touch.
On nearly 3% of U.S. restaurant menus
Up 10% over the past four years
61% of consumers know it
34% have tried it
Menu Example: Blenders & Bowls — The Chilled Berry: açai, strawberries, bananas, apple juice blended and topped with hemp granola, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries and local honey
MAC stage: Adoption – Ethnic aisle at supermarkets, casual independents, fast casual. Adoption-stage trends grow their base via lower price points and simpler prep methods. Still differentiated, these trends often feature premium and/or generally authentic ingredients.
Like quinoa and amaranth, farro is an ancient grain that has found its place with a modern, health-conscious audience through its nutty, wheaty, slightly sweet taste and a chewy, al dente texture. Upgrade starches, grains and salads in hot and cold cases with farro paired with vegetables and tossed with dressing.
On 4% of U.S. restaurant menus
Up 48% on menus over the past four years
24% of consumers know it
11% have tried it
Menu Example: Lenwich — Spring Bowl Salad: mixed quinoa and farro, kale, grilled chicken, apple, grilled zucchini, blue cheese, dried cranberry and almonds, with balsamic vinaigrette
MAC stage: Proliferation – Proliferation-stage trends are adjusted for mainstream appeal. Often combined with popular applications (on a burger, pasta, etc.)
Many consumers are familiar with these dark-purple roots and see them throughout the perimeter, but beets are now gaining traction on menus for their pop of color and health-oriented associations. Heirloom varieties, which can be orange, yellow or red, add interest to salads, spreads and even breakfast offerings.
On 19% of U.S. restaurant menus
Up 19% over the past four years
89% of consumers know it
60% have tried it
Menu Example: First Watch — Brilliant Beet Toast: whole grain artisan toast topped with beet hummus, fresh avocado, pickled onions, diced red beets, lemon-dressed arugula and herbed goat cheese
MAC stage: Ubiquity – Ubiquity-stage trends have reached maturity, and can be found across all sectors of the food industry. Though often diluted by this point, their inception-stage roots are still recognizable.
This healthy spread has hit a point of ubiquity with its presence on mainstream menus of quick-service restaurants to grocery perimeters. At its core, hummus is relatively straightforward in preparation – mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic – but operators are generating interest through inclusions, toppings and side offerings for scooping, dipping and spreading.
On 15.5% of U.S. menus
Up 23% over the past four years
86% of consumers know it/
58% have tried it
Menu Example: Pret A Manger — Moroccan Hummus Pot of chickpeas, roasted peppers, harissa and hummus, topped with almonds, cilantro and lemon