Chain Executive Survey: An exploration of the interaction between manufacturers and decision makers at chain restaurant companies, 2014

This study explored the evolving dynamics of the effective business relationships between restaurant chain executives and food manufacturers. Results were compared with a similar study done in 2002 to explore the changing nature of vendor relationships and new product development for contemporary menus. Culinary Visions® Panel surveyed 51 major chain restaurant executives in 2014 via the internet and 38 major chains by mail in 2002. Senior executive disciplines in the survey included marketing, corporate executive chef, food and beverage, menu development, product development, purchasing and innovation.

Read this study to learn more about:
  • How an operator prefers to learn about a manufacturer's capabilities
  • Chain operators definition of quality
  • Which attributes are most important in a manufacturer partner
  • Issues important to menu planning
  • Value added information chain operators prefer

Mindful Dining: How consumers’ values influence their meal choices, 2014

Mindful dining is a way of life for a growing number of health- and environmentally-conscious consumers, who not only scrutinize the restaurants, convenience stores, and in-store delis they visit, but the items and ingredients offered. Culinary Visions® Panel surveyed 1,227 restaurant diners about the factors that motivate them when they dine away from home. The study, titled "Mindful Dining: How consumers’ values influence their meal choices" examines the evolving mindful attitudes and values in restaurants, grocery store delis and convenience store landscapes. It also includes a focused summary of the Millennial, in-store deli, convenience store and fast-casual customer.

Read this study to learn more about:
  • What consumers look for when selecting a restaurant
  • What sources they trust to learn more about a restaurant’s reputation
  • Which business and ethical values drive their restaurant choice
  • How adventurous they are in ordering new dishes/flavors
  • What their preferred service style is
  • The challenges they face when ordering food
  • The impact of menu wording and claims/certifications

Dividing the Millennial Generation: Snacking Behavior by Age and Lifestyle, 2014

The Culinary Visions® Panel and Y-Pulse® ( collaborated to conduct a survey with over 1,000 consumers to better understand how consumers in different age groups and life stages approach food choices and the factors that drive their purchase decisions.

The focus of the study was on snacking behavior because younger consumers in particular eat more small meals or snacks throughout the day rather than traditional meals favored by their parents and grandparents. Overall, Millennial consumers do not care as much about defining an eating experience as a meal or snack as they do about satisfying their need to eat what they want, when and where they choose to eat it.

The Millennial generation includes consumers born between 1977 and 1992 who are 19 to 36 years old today. This study took a closer look at younger Millennials, ages 19-25, middle Millennials, ages 26-30 and older Millennials, ages 31-36. An understanding of different age groups and their lifestyles is important to understanding the factors that influence their food decisions away from home. Young consumers who are still finishing college and living at home behave differently than those in transition to their own financial independence or those who are heads of their own households with young children. Read this study to learn more about:
  • What characteristics influence snack choices for day time snacks and night time snacks
  • How snack choice differ for Millennials living with roommates from those living alone or with their families
  • How much Millennial consumers in different age and lifestyle groups are willing to pay for snack foods they consider high in value
  • How Millennials feel about service that is enhanced by technology
  • What Millennial parents say are their biggest snack planning challenges

Essentials of the Flavor Experience, 2012

The Culinary Visions® Panel delved into consumer perceptions and understanding of the five flavor profiles – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Menu concepts were developed that included key ingredients that would typify each of the major flavors. Differences in flavor preferences that exist for different times of the day and parts of the menu were also explored, as well as ingredients consumers associate with each flavor profile. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert items were studied.

Over 500 consumers were surveyed regarding their interest and desire to order each menu concept. This study is for operators and food manufacturers who are interested in adding depth of flavor to new menu ideas or new products. Read this study to distinguish:
  • Which flavors Americans are most likely to crave
  • Which flavors different age groups enjoy
  • How daypart affects flavor preference
  • Where consumers are most likely to experience new flavors

Invisibly Healthy, 2011

The Culinary Visions® Panel explored consumer perceptions of menu concepts that were developed to be "invisibly healthy." The criteria for the concepts were that there would be menu innovations designed to meet a healthier profile of lower in saturated fat and calories with minimally processed or raw ingredients would be readily available to restaurateurs and foodservice professionals. Although all of the concepts studied were inherently healthful by design, they were developed with taste appeal as the foremost criterion. Menu categories explored were breakfast, appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees.

Over 200 consumers were surveyed regarding their interest and desire to order each menu concept. This study is for casual dining operators who are interested in healthy profiles for new menu ideas. Read this study to identify:
  • How language used to describe a menu item can affect consumers' perception of healthfulness
  • How perceptions of healthfulness affect likelihood to order a particular dish
  • Registered dietitians' points of view about stealth health

Invisibly Healthy Deli, 2011

Another "invisibly healthy" study was conducted among consumers who frequently shop at supermarket delis and specialty grocery delis. Prepared deli offerings explored were potato salad, cole slaw, pasta salad and bean salad. Some of the concepts were overtly indulgent descriptions, others were obviously healthy and others were "invisibly healthy." This third group included recipes designed to meet a healthier profile of lower in saturated fat and calories without any compromises to taste. All were made with ingredients readily available to deli foodservice professionals.

Over 200 consumers were surveyed regarding their interest and desire to order each menu concept. This study is for retail deli operators and their suppliers who are interested in healthy profiles for new deli offerings. Read this study to identify:
  • Consumer satisfaction with offerings currently in their favorite deli
  • Ingerdients consumers would like to see in new deli offerings
  • Gender differences when ordering from the prepared salad case

Everyday Catering, 2010

A study of over 200 consumers was conducted by the Culinary Visions® Panel, to learn about consumers' best experiences with catering for every day occasions. Personal interviews with deli catering directors were also conducted to gain further insight into catering successes, new menu items, and ways to promote catering items. This study highlights some natural opportunities for supermarket delis to build their business with consumer and business customers. Suppliers of prepared foods looking to target deli shoppers should read this research.

Read this study to explore:
  • Which types of venues consumers use to purchase food for every day events
  • What the sources, successes and challenges are related to ordering food for everyday events
  • Which work-related and personal occasions consumers purchase catered food for and motivations for why they chose a specific venue

Emerging Ethnic Cuisines, 2010

Who knew that casual dining consumers would prefer an ethnic version of side dishes and ice creams over a traditional American version? The Culinary Visions Panel® explored ethnic concepts beyond the "big three" of Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food. New menu concepts were created based on classic American dishes: Burgers, Chopped Salad, Pizza, Side Dishes and Ice Cream. Using Asian, Latin and Mediterranean flavors as inspiration, fifteen new menu concepts were developed and tested.

Over 200 consumers were surveyed regarding their interest and desire to order each of the concepts. Consumers were further screened to differentiate responses from foodies versus non-foodies. This study is for casual dining operators and menu engineers looking to determine an ethnic direction for new menu ideas. Read this study to find out:
  • Which Asian flavors are consumers familiar with
  • Which Latin cuisines are gaining traction as mainstream
  • What flavors from the Mediterranean have consumers clung to

Redefining Home Cooking, 2009

Culinary Visions® Panel explains what motivates consumers to cook at home and compares home cooking satisfaction to dining out. In an online survey, over 200 home cooks rated and answered questions about their cooking behaviors at home. Ninety percent of respondents said they cooked at home at least once per week, while half of these respondents cooked at home every day.

This research is for suppliers of meal kits, prepared frozen or shelf-stable meals, and prepared deli foods. Read this study to discover:
  • What ingredients are important to consumers who cook at home
  • What are consumer impressions of scratch cooking
  • What an ideal dining experience means to consumers

New Frugality, 2009

In the past 12 months, over half of consumers have changed their dining habits as a result of the economy. The Culinary Visions® Panel surveyed more than 200 consumers about their restaurant dining habits. Consumers disclosed the significant changes which had been made in their dining habits to embrace their lifestyles and create a new normal. Consumers also remarked how current habits would carry over even when the economy recovers.

This study is for restaurant operators to discover the tactics consumers are using to create value when dining out. The following is included in this survey:
  • Most respondents are paying more attention to menu prices (81% ), using coupons more often (72%), celebrating more at home (65%) or ordering alternative menu choices (65%)
  • More than half of respondents are saving money by packing their own snack (60%) or skipping snacks altogether (43%)
  • Consumers continue to enjoy dining out by using promotions or choosing more cost-effective day-parts
  • Patrons still want to enjoy cocktails, appetizers and desserts, and are finding ways to satisfy that desire economically

Speed Scratch, 2008

Having a comprehensive understanding of consumers' expectations for food made on premise makes for a successful menu. Through a series of roundtable discussions, one-on-one interviews, and consumer research, Culinary Visions® Panel explains that consumers generally accept convenience products used in commercial kitchens. Chefs and consumers around the country confirmed that taste is the most important factor in any menu item, whether created from scratch or made using convenience products.

This research is for commercial and non-commercial foodservice operators. This study explains:
  • Differences in perception among chefs and consumers of scratch cooking
  • Consumer impressions of restaurants that use convenience products
  • Culinary professionals' perspective of convenience products

Contemporary Comfort, 2008

The demand to return to familiar foods is fueled by both nostalgia and the simple but perennial crave factor. Culinary Visions® Panel provides perspectives from both consumers and chefs that are key to understanding the scope of the market for these menu items as well as how and why such items will likely be in demand for some time to come.

This research is for restaurant operators looking to add some memorable comfort to their menu. Read this study to learn:
  • What foods chefs and consumers consider to be comfort foods
  • Which day-parts consumers reach for comfort foods most often
  • Generational and gender differences of what is considered com fort food among consumers