Millennials love grab-and-go food—pre-packaged, ready-to-eat food items often sold at retail locations.
In the past, these items were viewed by some as a lower-quality food offering, but that has changed. Grab-and-go food items today are well accepted and can be found anywhere from upscale hotel lobbies to convenience stores to schools and universities.
- While 19% of consumers overall select grab-and-go food items, nearly 30% of millennials purchase these items.
- About half of surveyed consumers report they purchase prepackaged sandwiches, but this jumps to 65% for millennials.
- Just over 25% of consumers overall purchase ready-to-eat salads, but nearly 40% of millennials report they regularly purchase them.
And by most measures, this is just the beginning of a growing trend. One of the reasons grab-and-go food is getting so popular, other than efficiency, is that it helps reduce food waste. For instance, schools and universities report tossing out tons of quality, edible food items every year simply because they prepared too much of certain food items and those items did not sell as well as expected.
Making grab-and-go food profitable for vendors
There is a key point that c-store operators who have found success with grab-and-go products have kept a focus on: the importance of the label found on these products. Consumers of grab-and-go items tend to be label readers—they want to read the ingredients, nutritional information, prep instructions and " best if used by” dates.
For operators, this means that an easy-to-use food labeling terminal system is a must. This allows them to not only place customized labels on grab-and-go items, but also quickly make changes to the information on the label when necessary. Some systems, such as the MenuPilot® platform from DayMark® Safety Systems, are cloud-based, allowing label changes to be made at a central location and subsequently pushed out to remote store locations.
In addition, advances in grab-and-go labeling printers now give c-store operators the ability to print complex labels consistently and efficiently. Nutritional, transactional and promotional information can be paired with varying label formats, including custom colors, wider widths and unique die cut shapes. These labels are also printed on demand, reducing label inventory and saving money.
Grab-and-go food trends
As younger consumers tend to be quite happy with most grab-and-go food items, the market has a bright future.
The industry is on the upswing, and some food service professionals even believe it is an under-valued and under-appreciated industry. They point to the fact that consumers are busier today than ever and that the typical family gathering at the dinner or breakfast table seems to be something of the past.
Evolving technologies, such as those that address grab-and-go labeling needs, will play a major factor in the continued growth of the industry.
Article originally appeared on the CSP Magazine website.