Comfort food is the top food that consumers crave: 53% of consumers reported comfort food as the best description of food that they typically crave.3 Furthermore, potatoes are considered one of the top rated comfort foods among consumers. 1/4 of restaurant-goers say that potato-based sides are among the most favored options when they eat away from home. And, 57% of consumers at full-service restaurants indicated that they would consider ordering mashed potatoes as their side dish at dinner. When it comes to consumer cravings for classic comfort foods, potatoes are #1.4
Basic American Foods mashed potatoes, casseroles, and hashbrowns fit the bill when it comes to meeting the growing consumer demand for great tasting, high quality potatoes.
According to Datassential MenuTrends, which tracks more than one million items on menus at chain and independent restaurants, refried beans and black beans are growing on restaurant menus by double digits. Over the last four years, refried beans experienced growth in both midscale and fine dining, while black beans experienced growth in all segments except fine dining.
Because beans are part of a healthy diet—and consumers are on board. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, essential minerals and protein.
Plus, their versatility makes them invaluable to your menu. Use them in entrees and sides, or substitute them for more expensive animal proteins. The options are limitless.5
One-third of consumers reported that their flavor preferences change with the seasons. Consumers are becoming more and more enticed by seasonal offerings on restaurant menus — 59% said they would be more likely to order foods described as seasonal,6 and 54% stated that they would be willing to pay more for seasonal foods.7
This draw to seasonal menu items is especially true when those seasonal flavors are incorporated into familiar sides like mashed potatoes and casseroles. Re-inventing classic sides with seasonal twists entices consumers to try new flavors.
According to consumers, sides matter! They influence menu selection and value perception. In fact, consumers have indicated that they are willing to pay $1.00 – $2.00 more for signature sides.8
Furthermore, patrons seek sides that satisfy cravings with 66% describing that as an important attribute when choosing a side.9 25% of consumers indicated that they choose at least one side when they eat away from home, with potato-based sides being favored.10 The appeal of mashed potatoes and hashbrowns, in particular, has increased across segments because of their familiarity: 59% of consumers said they prefer to order sides that are familiar over sides that are unfamiliar.11
Consumers have spoken and they agree—they want their classic favorites, but they want them re-freshed. That’s why offering Seasonal Specials answers their call and drives incremental sales, increases traffic and creates consumer buzz for your operation.
1 Datassential MenuTrends, 2014
2 CREST US Potato Board Report, 2015
3 Technomic, Consumer Trend Report Series, 2014
4 Technomic, 2014
5 American Institute for Cancer Research, 2014
6 Technomic Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, 2014
7 Technomic Pricing & Value Consumer Trend Report, 2013
8 Technomic MenuMonitor, 2015
9 Datassential, MenuTrends, 2013
10 Technomic, Side Report, 2013
11 Technomic, Potato Trends, 2014