What Are the Key Lunch 'Needstates'? (Infographic)

Technomic highlights opportunities to improve day-part's traffic

lunchbox Star Trek (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Foodservice / QSR)

CHICAGO -- Consumers regularly eat lunch away from home--a couple of days a week, on average. Foodservice operators have been focusing their efforts on gaining a larger share of lunch visits during this highly competitive day-part.

Convenience and speed of service are key needstates for lunch; however, today's consumers are also calling for higher-quality fare (80%, up from 70% in 2011) and unique and innovative lunch items. Additionally, the availability of healthy items and smaller portion sizes continue to factor into today's purchasing decision, especially during weekday lunch visits.

"There are definitely opportunities to take share in the lunch day-part," said Sara Monnette, senior director of consumer insights and innovation at Technomic. "Promotion of premium limited-time items, staggered portion sizes and better-for-you menu specialties could help capture customer attention and drive midday traffic."

To help foodservice executives understand the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of consumers' lunch occasions, Technomic has published an update of its Lunch Consumer Trend Report.

Interesting findings include:

  • Consumers demand lunch variety, yet visit a few familiar lunch spots: 60% of consumers say that menu variety influences their lunch purchase, yet 47% frequent the same lunchtime destinations regularly.
  • Diners want appropriately sized lunch portions: three out of 10 consumers (29%) expect restaurants to offer smaller lunch portions, and 36% (up from 31% in 2011) eat a lighter lunch during the week.
  • Healthy fare is a strong influencer: consumers say that health factors impact where they purchase lunch during the week (49%) and on the weekend (41%).
  • Sandwiches are a key platform for lunch-menu innovation: top trends this year call for pork-based preparations with a regional flair and trendy Asian-fusion varieties.

Chicago-based Technomic provides comprehensive global information, analysis and insights to food industry executives through consulting, market research, online databases, tracking services and industry events.