QSR’s nibbling into healthy snack trend, tasting sweet profits
In their search for additional revenues, QSR’s have tapped into the growing demand for healthy snacks – or at the least the healthier-but-still-succulent versions of their main offerings.
“Australians today aren’t just looking for taste and freshness – they want snacks that are also food functional – that is, foods that provide daily recommended nutrients in addition to taste and freshness,” said Foodco Group Managing Director Serge Infanti on what he called the success of Muffin Break snacks.
“We’re continuing to expand our healthy-option range of bran, soy and linseed, gluten-free, low-fat and Weight Watchers endorsed muffins. We’re planning to soon introduce a snack-sized ‘indulgent’ muffin packed with premium-quality fruits and chocolate, to both satisfy nutrition and sweet-treat cravings,” said Infanti.
For Lord of the Fries, avoiding shortcuts that can lower the health value and taste quality of their snacks is key to pitching the idea of a healthy snack fries. “We continue our commitment to fresh not frozen fries, sourced from Aussie farmers with potatoes that are cooked twice with no Trans Fats, using high quality sunflower and cottonseed oil which is cleaned and filtered daily,” said Sam Koronczyk, one of the owners and co-founder, Lord of the Fries (LOTF).
“This process is expensive and time consuming, which is why many of LOTF’s competitors do not do it this way. LOTF realises people still prefer the taste, quality and health benefits of this approach which motivates us to continue to ensure our fries are of the highest quality and taste,” Koronczyk added.
Pacific Retail Management’s Kick Juice Bars is also developing healthy snack lines to satisfy the demand from current customers who may patronize others if not appeased with more nutritious options.
“We are currently working on a range of healthy snacks and supplements into Kick Juice Bars,” said Nicola Mills, MD, Pacific Retail Management. “We know that if you don’t ask the customer, they’ll usually go elsewhere to get what you couldn’t provide. So we try to listen to feedback and watch buying behavior and develop add-on ranges from there.”
Take-home varieties – for both traditional and healthier snacks -- are also a booming side business.“In the past, we have sold premium Belgium chocolate bars which provided our customers with the option of a choosing a quality product that they can take home as a treat. We also offer our customers a range of take-home coffee packs and keep cups,” said Infanti of Foodco Group on the more recent Jamaica Blue snack hits.
While for Muffin Break, take-home packs for muffins have been a home run. “Customers want freshly-baked and wholesome snacks (just like mum used to make) to take home and supplement their in home dining,” said Infanti. “We are currently investigating a baked-in-the-box carrot cake for the take home market.”
Even as some QSR’s expand to innovative snack lines, others simply expand on all-time favorites and existing bestsellers. Wasabi Warriors, for example, offers its Signature Sauces Range as a free add-on for every purchase. “We had strong feedback that customers do not like to pay extra for soy or wasabi.”
“As a relatively new brand, it’s important that we focus on our core range, and ensure we stand for something,” said Brett Carman, GM, Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill.
“However, there are some logical additions we are making to our menus that complement our range. We recently introduced our own house made corn chips, which are delicious on their own, and we have added these with a dip as a snack item. We’ve also recently added a snack dessert called ‘sopapillas’ at some of our restaurants, which are little tortilla ‘pillows’ sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and served with a chocolate sauce,” said Carman, suggesting that great taste is still the number one ingredient for a hit snack range.