The Rise of the Standing Consumer
I spent the long bank holiday weekend with my parents and, despite being a grown adult, my mother can never resist the instinctive urge to lecture me. Standing in the kitchen, wolfing down an overly-packed sandwich (think mayo smears around the mouth) she scolded me, telling me how I shouldn’t eat standing up but instead sit at the table. Whilst no adult likes being told off by their parents, it got me thinking how, with the rise of on-the-go food, increasingly we eat standing up. Whether its walking to catch a train or with a pint in one hand and a burger in the other at a food market, we are the generation of standing consumers.
This begs the questions: how can we expect how we eat to influence what we eat? And how does this feed into our innovation when creating the next generation of food products?
The Moving Consumer
Rapid urbanisation and the expanding white-collar demographic have meant that time is now at a premium and there is a strong desire amongst consumers for rapidity and efficiency in all areas of life, food being no exception. Food, like everything else, should be convenient and enabling; suitable for consumption on-the-go. Successful on-the-go products are therefore, facilitating consumers’ active lifestyles; providing portable and handheld meal solutions with new packaging technologies accommodating these trends also. It is, therefore, no surprise that leading QSR brands are those that have successfully capitalised on this era of movement; with the likes of McDonalds, Domino’s and Subway making it ever easier, and more delicious, to eat food fast and on-the-go.
In March, Domino’s AU launched the pizza pocket, available in two flavours and sold for $2.95 it is effectively a rolled-up pizza, the messy toppings carefully encased in a hand-help dough wrap. The product made it conveniently easier for consumers to eat pizza on the move; bye bye stray toppings. Likewise, back in 2011, McDonald’s launched its now successful wrap range which includes the popular Sweet Chilli Crispy Chicken and the Grilled Chicken, each at £1.99. The range is strategically packaged to make them easy to eat on the move with the strapline ‘Too Good to Put Down’ indicating just that.
But, at FIS, we know that consumers are a key part in answering any culinary question, so with the help of our sister company, Good Sense Research, we questioned a panel of 122 on the topic. When asked whether they minded eating standing up – only 28% said they did mind and would prefer not to with the remaining not ever minding or only minding sometimes. When asked separately how often they eat handheld food standing up or on the go, 1/3 said daily (source: Good Sense Community).
Flavour and Perceived Value
Whilst the prevailing needs for QSR consumers are speed (low wait time and quick consumption) and value, this isn’t to say that consumers are willing to compromise on quality, freshness and flavour; as always, flavour rules. But, with the ruling format being hand-held, single serve portions with no separate toppers, garnishes or dressings, it becomes harder for QSRs to elevate a products’ flavour whilst keeping it operationally simple, competitively priced (whilst being commercially viable) and efficient for consumers. Which presents the challenge of providing products with combi-solutions: value for money, intense flavour, mess-free/portable format and colour and texture. No mean feat and whilst some are winning within the space, providing best-in-class demonstrations of how to do it right, others aren’t.
Are you looking to succeed within the on-the-go market space and to provide your consumers with delicious and convenient meal solutions? With over 10 years of experience working across F&B food service operations including QSR, Food Innovation Solutions could support your business excel in this market space. To find out how FIS could offer NPD/EPD, a menu or sales mix review/revitalisation, get in touch with a member of our team.