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Research Roundup: Trends across the Segments

Here is a look at some emerging foodservice trends across three different industry segments.

Fast Casual
The fast casual restaurant category will gross an estimated $23 billion in sales in 2010, up nearly 30 percent since 2006, according to Mintel. In the online world, with quick-serve restaurants leading the trend in mobile sites and online ordering, fast-casual units are getting in on the game.

Coffee continues to drive sales at bakery-cafés, according to Mintel, with 66 percent of survey respondents saying they have at least one cup a day. Demand for coffee remains strong among drinkers ages 45 and older, but the segment also grows among younger consumers, many of whom are looking for sweetened drinks (40 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds). That said, these cafés need to offer a wider variety of both coffee-based drinks and foods to grow across age groups.

The convenience store market continues to grow, but consumers are looking for more healthy items when they visit them, according to Technomic. Nearly 63 percent say they visit a convenience store at least once a week, but only about half purchase food or a beverage. That said, c-stores compete heavily with fast food restaurants (nearly half of consumers say the latter are their alternative for breakfast and lunch, with 32 percent flocking to them at dinnertime. Made-to-order offerings are the most appealing, particularly sandwiches (57 percent), salads (50 percent), beverages (48 percent) and hot foods (46 percent).