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Insight of the Day: Restaurants revive snacking out with new menu items aimed at Gen Z consumers

Restaurants are increasingly focusing on snacking options tailored to Gen Z consumers, reviving the trend of snacking out with innovative menu items. This shift comes in response to the significant snacking habits of younger demographics, who are driving the demand for convenient and enjoyable snacking experiences.

Key Insights:

  1. High Frequency of Snacking:

  • Data from GlobalData indicates that 43% of consumers snack daily or several times a week.

  • Gen Z consumers, in particular, are leading this trend, with 26% eating out more frequently as they balance busy schedules and a return to office work.

  1. Convenience and Time-Pressed Lifestyles:

  • Convenience is a critical factor, with 33% of consumers prioritizing it when making food purchases.

  • The preference for ready-to-eat and easily accessible food options is prominent among younger consumers who often find themselves time-pressed.

  1. Innovative Menu Items:

  • Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and other dining establishments are introducing new and creative snacking options to attract this demographic.

  • Examples include Little Caesars' bite-sized pizza-flavored Crazy Puffs and KFC's chicken parmesan Chizza, both catering to the desire for quick and flavorful snacks.

Market Opportunities:

  1. Targeted Offerings:

  • Restaurants can capitalize on this trend by offering a variety of snack-sized portions and novel flavors that appeal to Gen Z's adventurous palate.

  • Emphasizing convenience and portability will be key in attracting on-the-go consumers.

  1. Enhancing Digital Engagement:

  • Utilizing digital platforms for promotions and easy ordering can help capture the tech-savvy Gen Z market.

  • Implementing loyalty programs and app-exclusive deals can further drive engagement and repeat business.

  1. Flexible Menu Options:

  • Providing all-day menus that include snacking options can cater to the blurring of traditional meal times, ensuring availability whenever the craving strikes.

  • Offering mix-and-match or customizable snack packs can appeal to individual preferences and dietary needs.

Industry Implications:

  1. Adaptation to Consumer Behavior:

  • The shift towards snacking as a significant eating occasion requires restaurants to rethink their menu strategies and operational efficiencies.

  • Investing in research to understand the specific snacking preferences and habits of younger consumers will be essential.

  1. Competitive Differentiation:

  • By innovating with unique and high-quality snack offerings, restaurants can differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

  • Highlighting the use of premium ingredients and unique culinary techniques can attract discerning Gen Z consumers.

  1. Sustainability and Health:

  • While convenience is crucial, there is also an opportunity to incorporate health-conscious options that do not compromise on taste.

  • Sustainability practices, such as eco-friendly packaging and sourcing, can also resonate well with environmentally conscious Gen Z consumers.

Overall, the growing trend of snacking out presents a lucrative opportunity for restaurants to innovate and engage with younger consumers. By offering convenient, tasty, and creative snacking options, they can tap into the evolving dining habits and preferences of Gen Z, driving growth and loyalty in this dynamic market segment.


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