Foods and flavors that bring comfort and community in uncertain times
From stay at home orders to increased off-premise dining, there’s no questioning the restaurant industry has experienced numerous changes this year.
Many consumers are craving a taste of something familiar – instead of trying new and exciting dishes when ordering from their favorite restaurant, consumers are looking for options that will provide a sense of normalcy. According to Datassential, 33% of consumers said they are eating more “comfort” foods daily since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic(1).
Operators across the country are re-evaluating their menu in response to new consumer cravings. Many are paring down their food and beverage options in order to provide simplified menus to help address consumer cost concerns and the shift to increased takeout and delivery traffic; as a result, 11% have added more comfort food options in response(2).
Comfort Foods and Flavors
Typically associated with homestyle cooking, comfort foods carry a sense of familiarity, serving as an indulgent option when consumers want to treat themselves. They tend to vary depending on individual preferences and evoke feelings of personal nostalgia when consumed.
In terms of the most popularly menued comfort foods, fried chicken ranks first, followed closely behind mac & cheese(3). Chicken parmesan is found on 55.2% of U.S. menus, which is no surprise considering out of 96% of customers who reported knowing the menu item, 80% reported loving or liking it4. Lastly, 95% of customers know ranch, with 71% liking or loving it. When ranch is paired with another flavor, its most common pairing is chicken(5) – a match made in comfort food heaven.
Something for Everyone
Part of finding comfort in food comes with sharing a meal with family and friends. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have been eating meals with their family at home more frequently. Former New York Times food editor, Sam Sifton, said, “A lot of us are really experiencing the joys of eating together with family regularly. For me, it's been kind of joyful amid all the sorrow(6)."
Operators can support consumers in their effort to eat family meals together more often and drive traffic by incorporating family-sized options into their menu, making dining out more simplified and cost-effective. 29% of consumers say multi-serving or family-sized items would motivate them to get food from a restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic(7).
Including flavors and dish formats that appeal to children and adults alike is key. Thankfully, 91% of kids say they like the choices on regular menus, affording operators room to tweak aspects of their adult menu to make them more appeal to young diners(8).
Delicious Bites Packed with Big Flavor
Tyson® Loaded Chicken Bites check the boxes for what consumers are looking for right now – popular flavors in a shareable format that is easy to hold for the young and reminds the young at heart (aka adults) of when times were less complex and uncertain.
Whether served as a shareable appetizer, standalone entrée or incorporated into family-style meal kit, Tyson® Loaded Chicken Bites combine familiar, well-loved flavors together in a hand-held format that will bring an exciting dining experience to consumers. Available in three enticing classic flavors – Cheddar Bacon Ranch, Parmesan, and Mac and Cheese –these new bites are stuffed with all-white-meat chicken and real ingredients such as cheddar and parmesan cheeses, elbow Macaroni and bacon. Tyson® Loaded Chicken Bites are fully cooked, so operators can count on quick and easy prep with every order.
Click here to learn more about Tyson® Loaded Chicken Bites or contact your Tyson Foodservice Representative, Broker, Distributor Sales Representative.
1 Datassential’s COVID-19 Report Series
2 QSR Magazine “COVID-19’s Impact, from the Perspective of Restaurant Owners”
3 Datassential MenuTrends™, Comfort Foods Instant Chart, April 2020
4 Datassential MenuTrends™, 2020
5 Datassential MenuTrends™, 2020
7 Datassential’s COVID-19 Report #3: Into the Home