Frugal Foods: 7 Value-Driven Meal Options

mcdonalds value menu hamburgers

McDonald’s is crediting the revival of its value menu for similarly reviving its profits. The Chicago-based quick-service restaurant chain introduced its revamped value menu in January with items priced at $1, $2 and $3.

The results?

During the first quarter of this year, the chain's U.S. sales at restaurants open at least a year rose 2.9% compared with a year earlier. And for McDonald's restaurants worldwide, company-owned or franchised, sales at locations open at least a year increased 5.5%, according to a USA Today report.

"More customers are recognizing that we are becoming a better McDonald's, appreciating our great-tasting food, fast and friendly service and compelling value," CEO Steve Easterbrook said in a statement.

It seems value is going a long way with consumers these days. In a survey of 1,500 consumers, Chicago-based Technomic asked how often they order meals from dollar menus. Forty-two percent indicated they go in for value meals once a week, 15% once every two or three weeks, 12% once a month, 20% less often than once a month and 10% said never, according to Technomic’s 2017 Value & Pricing survey delving into order frequencylue menus. And a recent study by Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group found that value-menu traffic for total QSRs increased 10% and consumer spending ramped up 13% during the first quarter 2018.

Click ahead to view 11 c-store foodservice or packaged grocery meal ideas that focus on both quality and value.

1. Schwan’s

schwam mini egg rolls

Packaged-food manufacturer Schwan’s launched three new varieties of Minh egg rolls: Bacon, Egg & Cheese; Sausage, Egg & Cheese; and Teriyaki Chicken. The egg rolls are a new hot-food option for customers who traditionally purchase bakery goods during the morning daypart, the Marshall, Minn.-based company said. The new varieties join the company’s current lineup of Pork & Vegetable and Chicken & Vegetable egg rolls.

2. Maid-Rite

landmark maid rite sandwich

Manufacturer Maid-Rite Corp., Des Moines, Iowa, is growing its thaw-and-heat foodservice options that are ready in 90 seconds. The Maid-Rite Sandwich can be merchandised in an operator’s warmer or cooler. The loose-meat sandwich has a nine-month freezer shelf life and seven-day cooler shelf life. Shipped to retailers in a 12-count case, the 5.4-ounce sandwich is available for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $3.29.

3. Johnsonville

johnsonville premium breakfast sandwich

Sheboygan Falls, Wis.-based Johnsonville’s Premium Breakfast Sandwich Collection features five handheld options: Sausage & Waffle Breakfast Stack, Andouille Scramble Wrap, Spicy Sausage Bagel, Savory Breakfast Croissant and Italian Breakfast Panini. Made with high-quality ingredients, the collection is designed to expand all-day breakfast and grab-and-go menu options for convenience-store operators. The sandwiches are prepackaged and individually wrapped.

4. Land Mark Products

day'n night bites

Day’n Night Bites’ Sausage Gravy Biscuit offers a generous breakfast-sausage patty enrobed in a flaky biscuit and topped with peppery country gravy. The heat-and-eat product is ready to serve in 90 seconds is available for an SRP of $2.79 per 5.6-ounce package. Day’n Night Bites are made by Land Mark Products, Milford, Iowa.

5. Hunt Brothers

hunt brothers pizza quick start program pizza shoppe

Last fall, Hunt Brothers, Nashville, began testing a Quick Start Program designed to help operators start a profitable pizza program in an accelerated time frame. The program was created to provide new Hunt Brothers Pizza store partners with prompt delivery, installation and the brand’s proprietary “pizza shoppe” startup materials. The program uses a set of common equipment options to eliminate shipping and installation delays, helping operators generate revenue faster. The Quick Start Program delivers standard pizza shop equipment in a single delivery within two to three business days of an equipment order.

6. Kraft Heinz Co.

just crack an egg

The Kraft Heinz Co.’s Just Crack an Egg (SRP of $2.49 per cup) is the first product on the market that offers a hot, savory egg scramble in less than 2 minutes, according to the company. Each individual serving cup contains a combination of diced vegetables, Oscar Mayer breakfast meat, Kraft Natural Cheese shreds and Ore-Ida potatoes. After adding a fresh egg, users stir it up and microwave for a hot breakfast. The product comes in four varieties: Denver, All American, Ultimate and Rustic.

7. Nestle Professional

chef mate country sausage gravy

To help support c-stores’ value-driven protein meals, Nestle Professional launched Chef-Mate Country Sausage Gravy in 2017. It was motivated by the growing number of full-service restaurant customers indicating they would like breakfast served all day. Chef-Mate consists of tender pork sausage and flavorful seasoning to deliver classic gravy flavor in a convenient heat-and-serve format.