The younger generation looks to grocery retailers and foodservice operators to make their dining choices easier for them, and they’re more likely to be drawn to meal kits, restaurant and grocery home delivery options and on-the-go foodservice than older demographics.
Convenient meal solutions grew across almost every category and generation over the past three years, according to the 4th edition of The Why? Behind The Dine from Acosta and Technomic. In 2017, 18% of total U.S. diners indicated they ordered a meal/ingredient kit online, with more diners with kids and Millennial diners engaging with this option, a rise in 10 percentage points over 2015, when only 8% of U.S. diners did so.
In today’s world, consumers are looking at a variety of dining options. When asked about their dinners in the past week, 55% ate out at restaurants at least once, and when asked about their dinner from the night before, 65% prepared dinner at home from scratch or ate leftovers, with younger diners more likely to take advantage of convenient food solutions.
Across generations, 85% of diners decided what to eat for dinner on the same day as the meal. Diners were influenced by what they had available at home, a craving, leftovers, their family/kids and habits. With the majority of diners not planning dinners in advance, many are looking outside their fridge for meals.
Compared to 2015, convenient meal solutions are growing across almost every category and generation, and Millennial diners are leading the way. Over the past three months, 70% of total U.S. diners ordered carry-out food from a restaurant, compared to 63% in 2015, while 81% of Millennials did so, compared to 69% in 2015. Forty eight percent of total U.S. diners ordered delivery food from a restaurant, compared to 42% in 2015, while 72% of Millennials did so, compared to 60% in 2015. Forty two percent of Millennials ordered a meal/ingredient kit online, compared to 17% in 2015; and 18% of Gen X diners did so, compared to 9% in 2015.
Over the same time period, 77% of Millennials ate prepared foods at home purchased from a grocery store, compared to 65% of total U.S. diners; while 58% of Millennials ate prepared foods in the grocery store dining area, compared to 34% of total U.S. diners; and 46% of Millennials ordered grocery prepared foods for home delivery, compared to 22% of total U.S. diners.
Ordering delivery is clearly a convenient meal solution diners love. In the past three months, 51% of total U.S. diners and 77% of Millennial diners ordered delivery food either from a restaurant or a third-party delivery service.
For the full story, go to this week’s Food Institute Report.