2022's Shifting Consumer Trends

Bonji Foods Aficionado Smart Brief: Volume 23

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Hi all, welcome back to the Bonji Food Aficionado Smart Brief! We hope the weekend treated you well and you are ready for a new week full of new opportunities! Consumer trends are always shifting, both subtly and abruptly. Thus, we are here to provide data from new studies and published articles that have seen new consumer trends at play as society fades back into the "new normal” territory. Evidently, to pick up on consumer trends, you should be looking at the new group of consumers that are now in the market: Gen Z. Of course, the entire focus of your restaurant or business shouldn't be on one generation, but the new-age is being led by the generation that is now hitting the young-adult range.

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Three Consumer Trends To Look Out For: 1. Online Ordering + Customization We have all seen the absolute boom of online ordering and delivery services over the past two rather difficult years. With this, if you currently aren't offering online ordering… you must act quickly. Additionally, if you do offer online ordering, there are constant updates and new abilities that allow a much more seamless transaction; both on the consumer and the business sides. At the end of 2021, both Grubhub and Doordash (the two leaders of delivery services) released massive amounts of data to help restaurants see what consumers ate and what they are looking for. Atop the list of food items on the rise were specialty fries, salads, and tacos. However, more importantly, the concept of customization has skyrocketed: custom-built salads were up 465%, custom ice cream was up 197%, and custom pizzas were up 165%. In essence, allowing your customers to custom make menu items may lead to more work or preparedness, but it's exactly what they want.

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2. Plant-Based Products Yes, we talk about plant-based menu items a lot, but there's good reason behind it. Regardless of how you may feel about the industry, consumers are buying more and more alternatives to traditional protein and milk. Year-over-year sales of plant-based products have risen by 6.2%, leading to a new high of $7.4 billion in 2021 alone. In dairy specifically, almond milk holds 59% of the alternative market, with oat milk increasing to 17%… now, 44% higher than they were just a few years ago. Then there are the meat alternatives that have been outpacing traditional meat sales by 3X, increasing by 74% in the past three years. Although this looks just like a bunch of numbers here, these signify massive amounts of real people who are making either a switch to alternatives or simply want to try something different. Regardless, we think it's almost a necessity to start implementing some form of alternative products into your menu.


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3. Consumers Will Change Their Habits Based on YOU With its roots embedded in the pandemic, consumers are more willing to change the frequency they visit a restaurant based on how employees are treated. Research has shown that 22% of customers have stopped going to a business because they had doubts about safety and employee treatment. Compared to how the customers themselves are treated, consumers feel that the employees are nearly just as important, a statistic that has changed dramatically over the past few years. Furthermore, consumers are now way more willing to stop going to a restaurant if they feel the business did not follow through on its promises or pledges. In fact, 65% of surveyed people said they have already changed the frequency of visits to a restaurant because something went wrong during the ordering or delivery process. Moreover, this means that you must show that you care more than ever. Now is the time to pour your focus into each aspect of your restaurant (especially those that are consumer-facing), which is no easy task. Overall, keep working hard and showing customers that you care about them and we are sure you will be on the path to success.

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