While a cold smoothie in the middle of winter sounds like “right snack, wrong time,” Smoothie King franchisees across the country report otherwise. One of many examples throughout the system is Jackie Floyd, who is busy preparing for continued demand for smoothies through the remainder of fall and winter at her Columbia, Missouri Smoothie King franchise.
According to Jackie, smoothies are just as popular during the winter months as during the summer. Jackie, who opened her first Smoothie King in January of 2015, said her location experienced strong sales growth in 2016. In fact, she said, smoothie sales at her store tend to spike between November and February.
Why? Attitudes about what we eat are trending more nutritious, and consumers still want convenience – all the time.
A Steady Stream of Smoothie “Regulars”
According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast, consumers are putting greater focus on their overall well-being, demanding better-for-you food options. Just because the calendar pages change doesn’t necessarily bring a shift in attitudes about healthier living. Smoothies, made with fruits, vegetables, nuts and other nutritious ingredients, meet that demand. For example, it’s common knowledge that Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables—even though they’re aware of the benefits. Smoothies help consumers achieve their serving requirements in a delicious and easy way.
Columbia, where Jackie’s Smoothie King store is located, is the start/endpoint of the MKT Trail, which extends nine miles to connect with Missouri’s 200-mile long Katy Trail. Jackie sees many of the same people using the trails come into Smoothie King on a regular basis. She knows most of them by name.
“They realize it goes with Smoothie King’s mission to inspire a healthy and active lifestyle,” she said. “There are a lot of active, health-conscious people in Columbia.”
Beating the Holiday Bulge with a Smoothie
Nutrition and fitness often weigh even more heavily on American minds during the winter holiday season, which is contributing to the demand for smoothies in the colder months.
“People gorge at Thanksgiving and holiday meals,” Jackie said. “They think a lot about their health leading up to the New Year. Smoothie consumption definitely spikes in January when New Year’s resolutions are made to become fit during the rest of the year.”
At Jackie’s Smoothie King, flavors such as Angel Food (Slim Blend), the Gladiator options (Fitness Blend) and Caribbean Way (Take a Break Blend) are consistently popular throughout the year. During the fall, when most people need a little help getting going or a boost to carry them through the day, the high-protein coffee smoothies and are a favorite.
Smoothies with a Purpose: On-the-Go Lifestyles
Perceptions about smoothies are changing as more people realize they contain beneficial nutrients and can be a satisfying meal replacement. Jackie sees this happening when first-time customers walk into her store and read the menu board.
One of the first things guests notice is ice cream isn’t the primary ingredient for a majority of our smoothies. Then they see how versatile smoothies can be. Depending on your purpose, when used as part of a sensible diet and fitness regimen, Smoothie King smoothies can help you get toned, build muscle, slim down, or support wellness. There are even smoothies blended as a take-a-break treat.
With today’s fast-paced lifestyles, consumers are also constantly searching for convenient meal replacements as they hurry to work or to get their kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. A Stanford University study cited by DoSomething.org found that Americans consume 20 percent of their meals in their cars. This data showcases increased demand for foods that are convenient and can be taken on the go—whether for eating on the run or for structured meals. Many Smoothie King offerings include the nutrients contained in a meal, including several that contain fiber and protein, which can leave the consumer feeling satisfied.
“People are on the move as much in the winter as they are in the summer,” Jackie said. “They still want to pick up a smoothie on the way to work or on their way home from the gym.”
Getting Started with Smoothie King
As perceptions change and nutrition awareness increases, younger generations are seeking out smoothies year-round. Jackie has been bringing her smoothie van to school events and family-friendly festivals this fall, including a Halloween party for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Jackie’s Smoothie King was chosen as the event’s food sponsor.
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