Meals are Out, Snacks are In

So where full meals appear to be “out,” snacks are definitely “in” – and not just in terms of portion sizes in celebrity chef culture.

Here are some well-known dishes now showing up in the snacking market:

  • Falafel and hummus
  • Vegetable protein
  • Sour or savoury yoghurt
  • Seaweed
  • Bagel
  • Paella
  • Build-your-own bars
  • Sweet-savoury combinations
  • Ramen

Automating the Snack-Centric Dining Out Experience

It is easy to spot the snack-centric shift across the food and beverage industry – from suppliers like Adage Furniture to chains like Starbucks who now let patrons order ahead for pick up.

Many diners are simply too rushed to commit to a sit-down meal. Here is where the shift towards build-your-own bars, self-serve kiosks and automated diners is most keenly felt. With dine-and-dashers making do with four to five snacks over the traditional three square meals per day, the less time spent waiting, ordering, paying and eating, the better.

Australia Versus America: Who is the New Snack King?

Perhaps even more intriguing – Australia has lately made Buzzfeed headlines as it goes head to head with America for the hotly contested title of “who has the best snacks?”

Thus far, the jury seems to be leaning towards Australia – even from the American side of the pond!

Flavour Profiles are Also on the Move

Since snack-size portions are being asked to pull overtime in providing energy and nourishment, this is causing the flavour profiles in the snack market to change as well.

Here are some of the most notable movements:

  • Unique flavour combinations are highly prized.
  • All-natural, healthy, low-sweetener snacks gain momentum.
  • “Alternative” energy beverages such as matcha tea, kombucha, carbonated coffee.
  • Salt is out, tart and bitter is in.
  • Sugar is out, sour and even fermented sour is in.
  • Savoury flavours are showing up in formerly sweet dishes (such as yoghurt).

Your Restaurant on Snacks

Capturing and moving with the meals-to-snacks trends can be accomplished in a number of ways. For example, many restaurants and cafes now offer two seatings – one early, one late. Tapas-style servings can also be introduced into any type of fare. Polling your customers can give you a good sense on their habits and needs.