Foodservice

Convenience Rules in On-the-Go Foodservice, Snacking

Beats out health, price, taste

NEW YORK -- Time-pressed Americans, seeking foods they can quickly consume at their desks, in their cars or at home as they rush from one daily obligation to another, choose convenience over all other factorsincluding healthfulness, price and tastewhen it comes to buying on-the-go food, according to On-The-Go Eating in the U.S.: Consumer, Foodservice, Retailing & Marketing Trends, a new report from Packaged Facts.

Although 65% of consumers say they try to eat healthier, 33% say they don't have time to prepare or eat healthy meals. Growing commutes [image-nocss] and work days and time demands on two-working-parent and single-parent households drove 49 million Americans to fast-food solutions and 41 million to store-made, precooked meals last fall alone.

Further beefing up the on-the-go food market is altering consumer attitudes and eating habits. Influenced by busy lifestyles, media reports about the health and weight-loss advantages of eating frequent small meals, and smaller portioned on-the-go options from the foodservice industry, one-third of Americans regularly skip meals, often grazing on snack foods as a substitute.

Restaurant food already comprises a sizable percentage of Americans' diets, and one out of every 10 people already buys food at a convenience store in a two-week period, said Tatjana Meerman, Packaged Facts' publisher. Foodservice sectors are seeking to increase their shares of this growing market by adapting to changing consumer attitudes toward meal times, meal sizes and health issues in order to make their products more convenient, healthier and otherwise appealing.

This and similar consumer studies will be the focus of CSP's third annual Consumer Insights Forum to be held Oct. 17 and 18, 2007, in Dallas. For more information about the forum, contact Kay Segal at (480) 368-8002, ksegal@cspnet.com.

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