While chicken and pork dominate in proteins available at most retailers, seafood is on the rise. Lobster, oysters, scallops and mussels are the top four “growth” protein options at U.S. retailers, according to Technomic. Lobster and oysters have already hit menus at retail and in restaurants, appearing on 32% and 29% of them, respectively, while shrimp (23%), scallops (19%) and mussels (18%) aren’t far behind. Snacklike seafood options have even emerged at limited-service restaurants such as Red Lobster, which offers Crispy Crab Bites.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers said they’re eating more ethnic foods and beverages now than they were in 2016, according to Technomic. Beyond that, 42% of Gen Z consumers want to see more international street foods on menus. Many ethnic street foods contain meat, offering retailers an opportunity to combine consumer demands for high-protein snacks and global dishes. QMart, a division of Northwest Petroleum, Houston, at its Q Cafe offers Indian samosas filled with beef, potatoes, onions and peas for consumers on the go.
Eighty-one percent of U.S. consumers purchase cheese from retailers, which is tied with nuts for the top protein category, according to Technomic. Combining cheese and other proteins may be advantageous for operators looking for a snacking edge. Take fast-food chain Del Taco, which combines cheese and chicken in its Queso Chicken Roller.
Sources: Technomic Ignite menu data; Technomic 2018 Ethnic Food & Beverage Report; 2019 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report; Technomic 2018 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report