November 24, 2020

Comfort Food: A Recipe for Sales

Comfort Food: A Recipe for Sales

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Food is about more than nutrients. This has never been more evident than during a pandemic. Understanding shifts in consumer demand can help you optimize your foodservice menus–and profits.

It’s all about feeling good. “Comfort foods offer consumers something soothing, familiar, and nostalgic,” according to Kerry. “A majority of Americans report their favorite foods remind them of childhood, stirring up memoires of a simpler, safer time.”

Comfort food: the response to pandemic

Here’s a look at how consumer food behavior has shifted in recent months:

  • Kerry reported in Spring 2020 that sales of pasta had doubled, and macaroni and cheese was up 176%.
  • They also noted that being “home all day just makes people hungrier.” Thus, snack sales have soared.
  • Insights from Nielsen show how the snacking trend has played out in C-store operations, which has been thriving as consumers seek convenient options close to home and stock up on snacks and household goods.
  • It’s not all about junk food. Kearney recently reported that the desire to stay healthy is also driving choices, especially for new food trends. More than half of consumers are sticking with foods they consider healthy over new trends.

Comfort: macaroni and cheese is up

survey reported by OnePoll for Farm Rich in September 2020 sheds more light. Two-thirds of Americans said they’re back to “childhood favorites” and are “eating more comfort food during the pandemic.” Put another way, they say, “Americans are eating like kids again.” Case in point: upticks in pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, French fries, and macaroni and cheese.

About 4 out of 10 consumers said they choose comfort food to bring “happiness”. What’s more, almost 7 out of 10 predict they’ll continue their comfort food choices after the pandemic.

More evidence of the importance of comfort food:

  • 2 out of 3 consumers said they would give up alcohol before they’d sacrifice their favorite comfort food.
  • Likewise, 2 out of 3 said they’d give up social media rather than forgo that favorite food for a year.
  • More than a third said they would “name their kid ‘Pizza’ for a lifetime supply of it.”

Comfort & your foodservice menu

The feel-good factor of comfort food is ageless, yet it’s growing even stronger today. All indications are the trend is here to stay. What does this mean for your foodservice menu? Feature comfort food and you have the ultimate recipe for sales and profits. You can capture the best of all worlds, comfort plus healthful eating, with this recipe for salmon macaroni & cheese.

Grab’n’go friendly and labor-friendly, too, is the recipe for grab’n’go tuna pouches. Of course, what spells comfort better than Mom’s tuna noodle casserole? Check out more inspiration for your comfort food menu in the Chicken of the Sea foodservice recipe collection.

Comfort food: brand matters

You can promote your use of known brands, such as Chicken of the Sea, to amp up the comfort factor. As explained by the Wall Street Journal, the pandemic has triggered a resurgence in “comfort foods from big brands”. Brand is just an extension of the food dish, scoring high on familiarity that makes consumers feel secure.

Comfort food insights

Want to learn more about comfort food for your menu? Check out the free continuing education (CE) course from Chicken of the Sea, Comfort Food & the Dining Experience. It’s available online and is approved by CDR, ACF, and CBDM for 1 hour CE.

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