Starters, Small Plates and Sides Playing a Key Role As Eating Habits Shift

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@lindamatarasso

CHICAGO — According to Technomic’s recently released 2017 Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report, starters, small plates and sides are well-positioned to gain share of stomach as eating habits shift to include more snacking and sharing. Small plates, in particular, continue to proliferate on menus and are helping to change meal dynamics.

“Preference is growing for meals that include several smaller-portioned or shareable dishes instead of those focused on a single entree,” says Kelly Weikel, director of Consumer Insights at Technomic. “Small plate and appetizer bundles, samplers and more innovative side dishes are trending as consumers increasingly opt for meals that feature a variety of flavours.”

Key takeaways from the report include:
• 38 per cent of consumers who order appetizers strongly agree that they sometimes visit a certain restaurant because they are craving a specific appetizer
• 43 per cent of consumers would like more full-service restaurants to offer small plates
• 62 per cent of consumers say it’s important that they can choose the side that comes with their entree