Pressure to improve the healthfulness of kids meals and restaurant fare in general along with the influence of the growing Asian, Hispanic, Boomer, and Millennial population groups are among the factors that will shape the restaurant industry in 2012 and beyond, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company.
Overall, NPD’s foodservice market research forecast of U.S. commercial foodservice traffic projects consumer demand for restaurant-prepared meals/snacks to rise slightly above 2011 levels.
Kids meals have been the focus of legislative and health advocacy activities over the past few years and that focus is expected to continue throughout 2012.
The continuing pressure on restaurant operators to improve the healthfulness of kids meals combined with increasing health consciousness among moms has resulted in children, younger than 13, eating more better-for-you foods like fruit, non-fried chicken, chicken wraps, cereal; and less of the not-so-good-for-you foods, like French fries, dessert items/frozen sweets, regular size burgers, and fried chicken, according to NPD’s Crest service, which continually tracks consumer usage of restaurants.
In general, healthy and lighter foods are faring better than many foods and beverages consumers have learned should be controlled in their diets.
In addition to restaurant consumers eating more healthful food, another growing influence in the industry is the rapid growth in the Hispanic and Asian population in the U.S., which will continue to drive demand for more ethnically diverse foods this year.
Tastes will evolve, and consumers will seek spicier and more flavorful foods.
The large Millennials and Boomers age groups will also influence restaurant foods.
Based on NPD CREST information, juice drinks are also likely to grow, particularly among younger adults, along with food items popular among Boomers, like coffee, fish/seafood, and breakfast foods.
Other factors that will influence the restaurant industry in 2012 and beyond include:
“We’re forecasting a continued slow recovery for the restaurant industry in 2012,” says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at NPD.
“Still, there will be pockets of real growth, behaviors supporting traffic that will outpace overall demand. To tap into that growth, however, operators need to understand what influences will affect consumer behavior and drive traffic in the next 12 months.”
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels.
The five times weekly e-newsletter that keeps you up-to-date on the latest industry news and additions to this website.