Daypart by Daypart

Snacking, breakfast trend analysis opens FARE foodservice conference

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

CHICAGO -- Helping attendees at this year's Foodservice at Retail Exchange (FARE) conference understand the opportunities that exist in today's value-focused landscape lead general-session panelists to bring up daypart strategies, lifestyle trends and what sustainability means at the store level.

The blurring of channel lines and traditional eating occasions has created an opportunity to capitalize on dayparts, with the multiple-daypart customer being a more loyal, higher-spend ring, according to Michele Schmal, vice president for CREST product management at The NPD Group, [image-nocss] Port Washington, N.Y.

"Twenty-five percent of customers visit stores for more than one of daypart, but that's 40% of the business," she told the room of 350 attendees. "Developing the multi-daypart is also a way to increase frequency, which is the [ultimate] goal."

Snacking and breakfast are two dayparts receiving a lot of focus, with quick-service restaurants (QSRs) currently promoting new breakfast items, including some with eggs portioned to act as potential snack items eaten in the afternoon.

Ways to communicate daypart messages include ads, promotions and "bounce back" marketing strategies where the purchase of a breakfast item will lead to a free lunch item. Schmal referenced a promotion from sandwich QSR chain Subway, Milford, Conn., where $5 bought both a breakfast and a lunch option (suggesting that while the customer was there buying breakfast, he or she could also pick up a lunch item to take back to work).[Pictured (left to right): Michele Schmal, Ron Paul, Michelle Barry.]Keeping up with breakfast and snacking trends is all part of staying relevant, noted Ron Paul, president and CEO of Technomic Inc., Chicago. He noted several QSRs that were ranked in the top 100 performers in 1999 but have since fallen off as of 2009.

He said that the ones that fell off the list lost their "lifestyle relevance." With these chains, "customers perceive a declining meal-occasion opportunitythey believed there was somewhere they could go for a better experience."

Other failure indicators were the lack of concept differentiation and inadequate brand reinvestment.

Keeping up with consumer lifestyle and value perceptions also means paying attention to the trends of health and sustainability, according to Michelle Barry, senior vice president, The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash. She said that her research shows people moving away from extreme views of staying healthy. "They don't want to be hit over the head with it."

In terms of marketing, the messages, Barry suggested, should be about simplicity, play, and being natural. Regarding food ingredients, for instance, she said, "If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it."

Sustainability is tied to the concept of health in that for consumers, it is not about the kind of light bulbs a store uses as much as cleanliness at the store and if the employees are treated well. "Local" is also a buzzword connected to sustainability, both in terms of buying locally to burn less energy in transportation and the idea of how naturally an item is produced. Barry said "the narrative" behind the product is important to today's consumer.

The FARE conference will run through Wednesday and features more than 40 speakers and a food pavilion of supplier exhibits. The conference caters to a variety of foodservice providers including convenience stores, restaurants, colleges and universities and recreational centers.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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