The popularity of mini, petite, and snack size portions continues to grow in foodservice as well as in the retail segments. According to Technomic's 2010 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, more than half of consumers (55%) polled said that they snack at least once a day, and about a quarter of consumers (26%) said they typically consume more than one snack each day.
Smaller portions and snacks today are more than a bridge between meals, in some cases they are the meal. For consumers looking to eat less, smaller-sized portions provide a healthier option or a smaller indulgence when eating out. "Dieting consumers don't always view restaurants as a safe place to eat, either because they don't recognize diet-compatible options, or are too tempted to indulge themselves when eating out," says Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano.
White Castle started the slider trend in the 1920's with the aim to sell a small 5 cent burger. 80 years later, the slider phenomenon has become popular across all restaurant segments. Since 2008, restaurant chains have actively promoted new mini-burgers, or "sliders," on appetizer and entrée menus. Findings indicate that this trend is still going strong with 25% of consumers, and more than a third of those aged 18–34, indicating that they purchase mini-burgers or sliders at least once a month. Consumers, particularly females, who purchase mini-burgers are most likely to order these items as a meal for lunch or dinner.
This year, Boston Market introduced a new line of Market Sliders. These mini-sandwiches come as a three-piece order or a combo meal with choices that include BBQ Chicken & Cheddar, Turkey & Swiss and Meatloaf & Cheddar. In addition they have introduced a new line of "Get it Saucy" sauces—Zesty Barbecue, Island Mojo, Sweet Thai Chile Garlic, Frank's Sweet Heat and Honey Habanero—which enhance the sandwiches and introduce customers to new flavors.
These exciting sauce selections support the fact that consumers look for distinctive and bold flavors to enhance smaller portions and make them more rewarding. Pollo Campero launched its new slider-sized Chicken Bocadillos, inspired by traditional Latin bocadillo sandwiches. The snack-sized sandwiches feature the chain's signature fried chicken served on a mini-bun with a side of sauce for dipping. These items are promoted with the tagline, "Big Latin Flavor in a Snackable Size."
As this new offering demonstrates, global and regional cuisine provides inspiration for mini portions and small bites. Tacos, taquitos, empanadas, arepas, skewers, samosas, crêpes, and wraps have been adapted to fit the need for portable, handheld mini portions. These small portions are a great way to introduce consumers to new products and flavors.
Demand for healthy and vegetarian options makes yogurt sauces, peanut butter, hummus, salsas, and cheese spreads ideal toppings for snack items such as baked chips, pita chips, whole grain crackers, fresh fruit, vegetables, as well as chicken nuggets and wraps.
With the busy lifestyles of today's consumers, more people are eating on the go at all times of the day. Providing mini-sized options with bold flavors will help satisfy consumers' need for smaller portion meal or a snack.
Incorporating the latest trends into mini portions to boost flavor can be achieved with the addition of just a few new items such as those listed below.
Visit www.kraftfoodservice.com or talk to your Glazier Foods Sales Rep to learn more.