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The website satedepicure.com has listed five foodservice trends noted in 2010 that have become a permanent fixture in the foodservice arena for 2011 and beyond. In no particular order, they are:
1. The $5.00 Lunch. By the end of last year, consumers resolved that lunch costs $5.00, a shift that started with the “five dollar foot long” promoted by Subway. Nearly every major competing fast food chain joined in, and value-added and prepared foods retailers followed suit, particularly Harris Teeter with their $5.00 meal solution of an entrée and two sides. Satedepicure.com predicts that fast fooders and meal solution retailers will be stuck with a price range of $5.00-$9.00 per portion for the next three to five years.
2. Concern for Food Safety. With the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, supply chain, manufacturing, and distribution practices that have served the foodservice industry for decades will undergo a seismic shift. In 2011 and beyond, chefs will make food safety and supply chain transparency part of the broader discussion of food integrity. Look for chefs to have greater influence on how ingredients are handled from source to table.
3. Value Prix Fixe. Like the $5.00 lunch, value prix fixe has become ubiquitous and few chefs are considering eliminating the option in the foreseeable future.
4. Chef Quality Value added Foods at Retail. Sophisticated retailers like Walmart, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, and Whole Foods will continue to offer chef-inspired, value-added foods at retail. Due to the extreme lead time required by major retailers to get food concepts from concept to store shelf, the $5.00 meal trend mentioned above will continue for the next 24-36 months at minimum. Retailers like Walmart will broaden their “chef quality’ meal solution offerings while continuing to offer consumers extreme value.
5. Quality Fast Casual Restaurants. Consumers have had their say and quality fast casual has become the winner over fast food. Restaurants like Chipotle, Panera Bread, and Noodles & Co. have found success in a tough economy and will spawn expansion into fast casual by additional themed foods like Asian for 2011. Consumers will continue to support growth of these concepts now that they have tasted quality.