Individually Wrapped, Grab-n-Go Choices Help Fuel Students’ Busy Schedules

college students eating


Today, consumers increasingly have a 24/7 lifestyle that demands food be available when and where they want it. Colleges and Universities have unique needs that require even more options when it comes to this trend, especially as they provide nourishment to students around the clock. There’s an opportunity to build business around students’ preference for high-quality, convenient grab-n-go choices, and most significantly, for students who are often limited on time or need a boost in between meals.


During this pandemic, there have been some challenges to work through, but also it has inspired a shift in the demand and frequency of snacking.

  • More than half of consumers’ eating habits have changed in the time they’ve been staying at home. 70% of consumers share that they snack and eat more frequently.(1)
  • Younger consumers’ habits were the most impacted by the pandemic, with more than 40% of consumers under the age of 35 reporting snacking more than normal.(1)


Safety and convenience are of top concern, so how do you exceed the expectations of students while also providing an easy and fulfilling way to satisfy hunger on the way to class, studying late at night or gearing up for a busy weekend? Grab-n-go products are not necessarily new for Colleges and Universities, but it’s the volume and sheer speed in which this transition has taken place that has operators adjusting to the new normal. It takes agility and teamwork, especially from supplier partners.


Let’s look at the key trends defining food consumption now and how Tyson Foodservice has the insights and products to support your dining operations.



Sophisticated Snacking. Small Bites, Big Impact.

What we know:

  • Almost 50% of consumers snack on the go.(2)  
  • 49% of consumers rank snacks high in protein as the #1 attribute when choosing a snack.(2)
  • Studies show that premium ingredients and single-serve packaging are important to consumers when making purchasing decisions.(3)  
  • 51% of consumers are more willing to try a new flavor or ingredient in a small plate.(3)


How you can win:

  • Delight busy students with an elevated snacking experience that’s also a good source of protein.
  • Make the most of today’s all-day snacking opportunity by featuring flavors customers love in an array of formats that will appeal to a wide range of tastes.


What we can offer:

  • Appealing, high-quality products from Hillshire® Snacking Small Plates that not only have a strong awareness in the retail segment, but also influence repeat purchases.
    • Hillshire® Snacking has 60% brand awareness.(4)
    • 76% of consumers would recommend Hillshire® Snacking Small Plates to a friend.(4)

With 14+ grams of protein, Hillshire® Snacking products serve up a highly desired nutritional attribute, (aligning with the fact that the ability of a snack to satisfy hunger is one of the most important purchase drivers for snacks).(2)


Breakfast Foods Boom — All Day

What we know:

  • 46% of consumers strongly agree that they enjoy eating breakfast foods at nontraditional times. This is impacting how consumers define breakfast, with slightly fewer now defining it by time of day.(5)
  • Protein-packed breakfast dishes are appealing to start the day off strong. These filling, more indulgent offerings are also viewed as comfort food by many.(5)
  • Breakfast sandwiches ranked #2 with consumers (47%) as preferred breakfast dishes.(5)


How you can win:

  • Provide everything students love about breakfast in one place and throughout the whole day. Whether it’s a bite-sized morning combo or breakfast sandwich, give them individually wrapped choices with popular portability.


What we can offer:

  • Widely recognizable solutions from Jimmy Dean® , America’s #1 brand for breakfast sandwiches(4) , and innovative options like Morning Combos, Breakfast Bowls and Jimmy Dean Simple Scrambles® Breakfast Cups.
  • Reduced waste and time with no operator prep required for these satisfying single-serve meals on the go.
  • Excitement and awareness with a highly recognizable and trusted brand
    • 99% of consumers are aware of the Jimmy Dean® brand.(4)
    • 80% of consumers would purchase this brand.(4)


jimmy dean morning meal anytime snackhillshire snacking













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Datassential COVID-19, Report 5 and ONE TABLE – Operator Report; Food Business News

2 Technomic Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report 2020

Technomic 2017 Starts, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trends Report, 6GfK Q4f 2017 Brand Health Tracker

4 2019 Tyson Brand Awareness Study

5 Technomic Breakfast Consumer Trend Report 2019