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2023: A Year to Remember, for Food and Beverage Insights

If it wasn’t obvious from our name, we think data is essential here at Datassential. And before we ring in 2024, we thought we’d look back at our incredible year “by the numbers.” So grab a mug of peppermint tea or perhaps a chocolate crinkle cookie, settle in, and join us as we dive into some highlights and new insights that made this year truly remarkable.

Who’s Eating Horseshoe Sandwiches?

113 additional foods, beverages, ingredients, flavors and brands are now tracked for consumer experience and affinity (bringing the total to well over 4,000), enabling our clients to determine firsthand who truly adores funnel cake fries, or which generation consumes garbage plates or Indo-Chinese food most often. In the spirit of this celebratory season, before you choose your holiday menu, find out whether more guests will enjoy an aperol spritz, prosecco rose or a Mexican mule as they raise a glass to the new year.

Sweet, Sweet Chain LTOs

3,817 real-world menu items and limited-time offers (LTOs) have been launched at the top chains and c-stores (as of this writing). September saw the largest amount of introductions (550), while August was the quietest month (297). In comparison to the previous year, some of the fastest-growing descriptors and ingredients used in LTOs encompass fried and baked preparation techniques, dessert flavors like caramel, chocolate and syrup, and craveable terms including crispy, new, and sweet.

What’s Our Industry Reading?

43,000+ occasions when clients have read on-screen or downloaded reports from our vast reports and insights library, with each individual report downloaded/read nearly 150 times. This proves that if you’re not a Report Pro subscriber staying up-to-date on the topics that matter to you with a personalized watch list, know that your industry peers are! Contact us today to get started and check out fan favorites like the Annual, Midyear and Big Picture Trend Reports, or search directly for what interests you. Top search terms among all users include pizza, dessert, plant based, c-store, seasonality, coffee, and many more. Feeling hungry yet?

Master the Art of Pricing Strategy

63 top chains are now tracked for unit-level pricing, providing price data for more than 109,000 individual, location-specific major restaurant brands each month and growing. Leveraging AI, menu items across these brands have been standardized, categorized and de-duped into 127 item types, akin to a SKU, that can be compared across all chains. This extremely localized pricing information is vital for brands to compete most effectively, as the price range for a single menu item (like a chicken entree at casual dining restaurants in Tampa) fluctuates by up to 50% within just a 3-mile radius.

Is 2023 the Year of Gluten Free Food?

44% of menus now feature gluten free options, establishing gluten free as one of the fastest-growing and most prominent menu claims having just surpassed ‘vegetarian’ in Q3 2023 (menu penetration of ‘vegetarian’ is now 42.9%, and ‘gluten free’ is 43.7%). Growth of gluten free options at restaurants is especially prominent as carriers in handhelds like hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs, as well as in breakfast bakery items. Delve further into this trend, or research any of 11,615 other foods, beverages, flavors, descriptors and more tracked in our comprehensive menu platform.

AI Powered Solutions_360 View of Menu Trends

Unrivaled Trend Forecast Accuracy

98%, the accuracy with which Datassential clients can uncover the future penetration for every item on a menu, informed by more than 20 years of data that trains AI to predict how any food, beverage, flavor or dish will evolve on menus over the course of four years.

The Next Class of Restaurant Operators

200,178 new operators were added to our U.S. sales intelligence platform of 1.9MM+ searchable records for sales targeting, which also includes nearly half a million searchable restaurant menus. To provide manufacturers with the strategic advantage of getting in at a new restaurant’s inception, restaurant pre-opening information is also available in the tool, with over 7,600 pre-open records added so far this year. American, Mexican, and Coffee/Bakery operators are the most common cuisine types slated to open in the next several months – a good sign for both sales opportunities and deliciousness.

To access all the above (and much more!), we invite you to request a demo and become a subscriber. If now’s not a good time for that, don’t worry – we have a resources section filled with hundreds of free reports, webinars, and blog posts that are packed with important and timely information to guide your sales narratives and innovation efforts.

And we have a lot more planned for 2024 – stay tuned for many more insights and in the meantime, download a teaser of our 2024 Food Trends Preview.