Canadian Pizza Magazine

Millennials “it” generation for foodservice

By Canadian Pizza   


September 7, 2011, Chicago, IL – The number of Millennials and their propensity to eat out make them the "it" generation for the foodservice industry, but their diversity calls for a broader range of options, NPD reports.

Millennials, ranging between the ages of 18 and 29, made over 13 billion of the 59 billion visits made to U.S. foodservice establishments in 2010, and spent $73 billion, according to The NPD Group. This generation's clout is largely due to its size: there are currently 52 million Millennials, and unlike some other adult generations, their number will increase over the next 10 years, driven by immigration.

Much of the buzz about this generation focuses on its collective behaviours, but a recently released NPD foodservice market research report examines the diversity among this age group.

The NPD report, titled Reaching the Millennial Generation, which studies what motivates and satisfies Millennials when it comes to foodservice meals and snacks, finds that Millennials represent a diverse generation of varied values, tastes and preferences. The report also found that to meet Millennials' interests and needs, foodservice operators will need to offer greater menu variety.


"Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers as the most sought-after target for restaurateurs in the coming years," said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the report. "In order to attract this generation, foodservice operators and manufacturers will need to understand both the similarities and differences among Millennials."

One of the collective behaviours among Milllennials the report identifies is that they spend over half of their foodservice dollars on ordering food for takeout. As a group, they spend a higher per cent of their total foodservice dollars than other generations on snacks, and have a higher order incidence of snack food items like ice cream, nuggets, and mini sandwiches.

According to the report, Millennials differ from one another in a variety of ways, including ethnic diversity. For example, one in five Millennials is Hispanic. The working status of those within this age group also differs. Among the 1,033 Millennials surveyed, 47 per cent are full-time students, nine per cent are part-time students and 44 per cent are not students. Forty-four per cent are not employed, 30 per cent work 30 or more hours a week, and 32 per cent work less than 35 hours per week.

"Millennials are moving into their heavy foodservice using years, and this is the time to reach them to build their loyalty," says Riggs. "In reaching out to them, it's important to understand that Millennials are not a one-size-fits-all generation and their needs and wants are varied."

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