Trends & Insights

Beef: The QSR Landscape

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Here at AdvancePierre® Foods, one of the best parts of our job is keeping up with what’s going to be trending in the coming years and preparing for it. Anticipating the needs of the food market as a whole is something on which we pride ourselves.

We’re following the trends of the beef consumer – who they are, why they’re growing, and how our products can tap into their demand.

As many QSR operators can tell you, consumers have been choosier about what they’re eating, but 70% of American consumers agree that the benefits of beef outweigh any perceived negatives surrounding health and wellness – in fact, 18% plan to eat more beef this year1.

Beef is also trending as an ingredient, instead of a main entrée, which means a smaller investment for you to put this protein on your menu. Going forward, menus are likely to include beef in smaller portions: “shredded, shaved, filled or crushed.” For example, inclusion in QSR salads rose 14% in 2015, as well as a focus on beef that’s convenient or portable – think wraps, fajitas or sandwiches like those added by Shake Shack, Subway and Applebee’s2. With 50% of Americans eating a sandwich every day – and a 9% decline in the sales of chicken sandwiches – there’s a gap in the QSR market that beef can fill. This trend is perfect for a product like Steak-EZE®, which delivers just-like-homemade taste, appearance, quick prep time, and versatility.

Potential Roadblocks

Steak already has a strong foothold in the QSR setting – 46% of QSR operators surveyed currently have it on the menu – most commonly in Philly Cheesesteak (92%), Pizza (34%), Salad (28%) or breakfast sandwiches (22%). Of those who don’t use it, 66% are open to adding it to their menus, save for a few concerns. Chief among them:

  1. Low Profit
  2. Desired Quality
  3. Low Consumer Demand
  4. No menu fit  

Fortunately, many QSR operators have already found solutions for these problems and made Steak-EZE a part of their menu. Here’s how to do it.

Meaty Solutions

Profit Margins are the most important consideration in adding any new component to a menu. While Steak-EZE is a pricier protein than many lower-quality or alternative meats, its premium look and feel can be incorporated into many dishes. QSR Plus restaurants like Jimmy John’s Sandwiches or Chipotle are elevating the QSR experience with more premium ingredients and inventive combinations – an easy way to position a menu item with a higher price tag. Millennial Foodies – of which more than 40 million are entering the market this year – have proven to be willing to pay more for an elevated dining experience, especially in QSR.

Desired Quality is essential, especially in a QSR setting where a consumer may be hyper-wary of what they’re eating. Not only is Steak-EZE the most widely trusted QSR steak product on the market, it’s also made from Sirloin and Chuck cuts, the two cuts of beef that rank the highest  in consumer satisfaction for taste and texture. QSR operators incorporating steak should be building dishes that highlight the meat’s best qualities – try baking it in savoury pies, loaves, quiche or pizza, or preparing a la minute for optimal, fresh taste in curries, soups or stir-fries. And don’t forget Philly cheesesteak sandwiches!

Menu fit and consumer demand are perhaps the easiest operator queries to solve. Beef pairs well with infinite flavors and cuisines – from Middle-eastern, to Greek, to old-fashioned American, beef can be a cornerstone ingredient used to showcase any number of flavors. If you’re thinking about incorporating sliced steak into your menu for the first time, we recommend preparing the meat in a skillet or on a flat-top and dressing simply with your sauces and seasonings of choice – Steak-EZE is perfect for this quick, versatile method that can prove a low-maintenance litmus test for consumer demand in any QSR.



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