Where Grab-and-Go Meets Health

Snap Kitchen specializes in "healthy" prepared grab-and-go meals.
 
Food retailers and foodservice operators are connecting with how Americans eat in a variety of different ways, according to The NPD Group, while on-the-go meals from specialty food retailers and grocery stores are capturing the attention and wallets of more Americans, according to a new Nielsen report. 
 
“The search for white space, growth occasions and new product opportunity will be more important than ever for food companies and foodservice operators in 2017,” says David Portalatin, vice president at The NPD Group and author of NPD’s Eating Patterns in America. “Opportunities to grow and innovate are out there, but the key to finding them in the coming year will be staying in touch with the consumer. They’re the ones in charge.”
 
Food manufacturers may capitalize on consumers’ desires for fresh, authentic foods, while foodservice operators increasingly will leverage technology to get their food on tables at home, according to NPD. “At the intersection of this trend is the retailer, who will continue to blur the line between retail and food service.”
 
For this reason, it is no surprise that a nontraditional food retailer based in Austin, Texas is battling it out to gain a greater share of the health-focused, grab-and-go market for quick meals and desserts, including catering.
 
Snap Kitchen specializes in "healthy" prepared grab-and-go meals, and sweets are integral to the menu. Founded in 2010, Snap Kitchen has exploded to 45 locations: seven in Austin, 12 in Dallas-Fort Worth, 12 in Houston, seven in Chicago and seven in Philadelphia. They also have locations inside select Whole Foods Market stores. 

Each Snap Kitchen dessert is 300 calories or less, and prices range from $2.49 (brownie or coconut macaroons) to $3.99 (key lime pie, strawberry cheesecake or chia date pudding). Priced at $2.99 apiece, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate mousse round out the desserts.

“Consumers deserve a meal option that is without compromise: great food, great health and maximum convenience,” says David Kirchhoff, Snap Kitchen’s chief executive officer since 2015 after a long management career at Weight Watchers International “Snap Kitchen is all of these things—truly the holy grail of future facing food.”

Kirchhoff, who wrote a best-selling book titled “Weight Loss Boss,” is determined to make it easier and more convenient for people to eat healthy. The just-released Snap Kitchen app for iPhone promises to help consumers plan nutritious meals, order ahead for pickup, check reward balances and (soon) arrange for delivery. In Chicago, the company works with DoorDash for delivery of catered meals in a pilot project.

Snap Kitchen is launching a new brand to stand strong for years to come, according to the company. Developed with design firm Pentagram, the recent rebrand includes full shop redesigns along with a modernized logo, new packaging and an optimized labeling system that allows customers to make smart, fast decisions. 
 
The newly imagined shops can be experienced at locations across Austin, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia. With the rebrand comes its first ad campaign that aims to start a "Revolution in Not Cooking," leading consumers to find more productive ways to spend their precious time. 
 
The brand's personality comes to life with messages like "Healthy Eating Sucks. So We Fixed It." running on hyper targeted billboards, bike share racks, transit advertising, CRM, digital and social media. The campaign was created in partnership with Alex Bogusky's agency network COMMON, a creative accelerator and community for social businesses, designed to catalyze and promote ideas that take care of the planet and all the creatures on it.
 
On the culinary front, Snap Kitchen is working its magic on guilty pleasures like beef brisket to make the juicy cut of beef healthy. Two new signature dishes, Slow Roasted Brisket Tacos and Brisket Hash, are packed with brisket, braised low and slow cooked for 10 hours, bringing out its juicy flavor, while maintaining a lower fat content than other cuts of red meat. 

 
On the dessert front, Snap Kitchen focuses on low-calorie options of traditional favorites like key lime pie. That's wise, according to the latest foodservice trends, because consumers are buying more desserts that are inspired by Southern baking traditions.
 
A new Technomic report shows that consumers are craving a revival of Southern-inspired treats such as Mississippi mud pie, Kentucky butter cake and fruit cobbler, which is just one of many leading dessert trends sweetening operator menus. According to data from Technomic's latest Volumix Cakes and Pies Report, operators are ensuring that their guests save room for desserts in this category by increasing their purchases of these manufacturer products.
 
In fact, total sales for the cakes and pies category increased by 5.5 percent year over year in 2016, with the largest sales increases occurring in the fine-dining, fast-casual and casual-dining sectors. In other findings, distributor brands represent nearly 10 percent share of volume of cakes and pies, and the average price per pound of cakes/pies increased 3 percent.