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CHICAGO – Although focusing on savings and searching for a good deal seem to have become ingrained consumer behaviors even as the economy recovers, new research from Technomic Inc. suggests that consumers consider more factors than just price when they think about a restaurant's value equation.
Technomic's new Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report identified multiple crucial elements vs. second-tier factors, as well as how the value equation differs depending on when and where consumers are searching for a meal away from home.
"Our data confirms many general perceptions about value, including the importance of low prices, but that's certainly not where the story ends," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "Operators across foodservice segments need to highlight specific menu and concept attributes — whether it's food quality, taste, family recipes, healthfulness, convenience or fast preparation — in order to heighten the perception of good value."
Notable findings of the report, which seeks to help foodservice executives understand the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of consumers regarding pricing and the value equation, include:
- Nearly equal percentages of consumers place a high importance on staggered portion sizes at different prices (45 percent) and large portion sizes (44 percent) in creating strong value at restaurants.
- Deal-seeking behavior has become ingrained, with 54 percent of consumers strongly agreeing that they seek restaurant deals and promotions more often now than they did in 2011.
- Customization opportunities help enhance the idea of value. More than half of consumers polled (51 percent) indicate that the ability to customize ingredients for their meal is "important" or "extremely important" in creating good value.
- "Fresh" and "premium" descriptors can increase consumer price thresholds. Nearly half of consumers (48 percent) say they would be likely to purchase and pay more for food and beverages that are fresh, while 37 percent say the same for premium food and drink.
The Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report provides comprehensive research on the latest menu and consumer trends impacting the value equation and pricing strategies, organized into five major sections -- Menu Insights, Consumer Insights, Competitive Insights, Outlook: Trends to Watch, and Profiles.