Tyson Foods talks seasonal eating trends: 'Blended burgers and nuggets will be the new hot kids’ menu items'

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

 ©GettyImages / Hinterhaus Productions
©GettyImages / Hinterhaus Productions

Related tags Tyson foods Trends alternative proteins

Consumers' eating patterns tend to shift during the summer months, becoming more experimental and experiential with new items taking center plate such as meat-less burgers, blended proteins, ‘standalone’ side dishes, and all-day snacking, says Tyson Foods in its 2019 Summer Trends Report.

"For summer 2019, we once again tapped our Tyson Trendtellers Council, made up of a dozen of our company’s top food thinkers and innovators, for their insights. We asked them to collaborate and use their collective insight to identify what the next big waves are in the culinary world this summer,"​ said Tyson.

Alternative proteins

While the occasional veggie burger may have made an appearance at summer barbecues in the past, this summer is the season when alternative protein options will abound on restaurant menus and in consumer shopping carts, according to Tyson.

“Demand for protein in all its forms has never been higher. And while the majority of consumers aren’t interested in eliminating animal protein from their diets (traditional meat sources are still the top seller), 70% of meat eaters are substituting a non-meat protein into a meal at least once a week,”​ said Tyson.

This trend is in part fueled by the number of plant-based meat alternative options launching into the market from Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods’ steady retail expansion to large CPG companies participating in the trend. 

Later this summer, Tyson Foods will launch its 'made with plants' nuggets (made with pea protein, egg white, bamboo, and flax seed) and blended burgers (with meat and plant protein) under its new brand, Raised & Rooted.

tyson blended meats
Alternative protein could “someday be a billion dollar business for our company,” predicted Tyson Foods CEO Noel White as the company unveiled the first products under its new Raised & Rooted brand, and a new line of blended products under its aidells brand.

Blended proteins

The blended protein trend, in which animal and plant-based protein are combined into one product offering enhanced nutrition, is one to watch, says Tyson.

Poultry giant Perdue unveiled its line of blended protein products​ made from chicken combined with a one-quarter cup (half a serving) of vegetables (cauliflower, chickpeas, and other plant proteins).

Tyson is also entering the burgeoning blended protein segment with its new Raised & Rooted blended burger featuring pea protein and beef, and its ‘Whole Blends’ line under the aidells brand featuring sausages and meatballs made with chicken plus a blend of cheeses and plant-based ingredients including ancient grains, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

Kids will be an especially important consumer audience for blended proteins as parents often struggle to get vegetables into their diet.

“This summer, the power and potential of blended foods is coming to kids’ plates. Blended burgers and nuggets will be the new hot kids’ menu items at pool parties and ballparks, combining the flavors of traditional protein with the nutritional value of more plant-based ingredients,”​ said Tyson.

Side dishes 2.0

Side dishes will have more of a center-plate presence at meal time, according to Tyson, as consumers regard them less as “meal complements”​ and more as “meal makers”​.

“While backyard grills will continue to be filled with your favorite burger or hot dog this summer, expect to see side dishes taking more prominence on your plate,”​ said Tyson. 

Rise in snacking and frozen food

Snacking at all hours will see a rise in summer especially with Gen Z and millennials, who are more likely than other generation to substitute a snack for a meal.

“We used to talk about snacking as ‘The Fourth Meal,’ a separate eating occasion that fell somewhere between the three squares,”​ said Tyson.

“Over the past decade, we’ve added 19 more between-meal occasions per capita. The reality is people are eating more fluidly throughout the day, which creates demand for flexible food that can be eaten anytime.”

Consumers are also seeking out convenience in the frozen aisle where they are more likely to find nutritious options with fewer preservatives than in other areas of the store.

According to Tyson, the freezer aisle is seeing a rise in vegetable varieties from traditional frozen veggies – which have seen year-on-year sales increase 4.5% in 2017 – to cauliflower crust pizza.

“Thirty-two percent of shoppers polled by Acosta, a sales and marketing research group, said they planned to buy more frozen food in the coming year. Millennials are among the enthusiasts – 43% planning to buy more frozen food than last year as they seek items that require less prep and can be stored longer,”​ Tyson noted.

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