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Target strategies to reach teens and tweens


January 6, 2012
By Canadian Pizza

January 6, 2012, Chicago – Drawing teens and tweens into restaurants requires targeted marketing strategies, new research from market research firms Technomic and C3 shows.

Tweens and teens influence the decision making of their friends and families, playing a large role in their dining choices. Fifty-eight per cent of teens and 54 per cent of tweens report that their family decides together which full-service restaurant to visit. Tweens and teens have very distinct foodservice attitudes and behaviours, which justifies a differentiated marketing strategy that targets their specific needs and desires.

"Today's tweens and teens are a diverse population, even within demographic and age segments," said Ian Davidson, senior manager of brand insights at C3. "They can often be difficult for marketers to understand and engage. Brands that are successful with tweens and teens will need to demonstrate a tiered strategy to reach this powerful group of consumers."

In order to better understand the foodservice and lifestyle attitudes of today's youth, Technomic and C3 have released The Dining Habits of Tweens and Teens. The report provides an overview of attitudes toward national restaurant chains, food preferences, dining-out behaviours with friends and family, kids' menu preferences, snacking behaviour, convenience-store patronage, technology usage, music purchases and clothing brand preferences based on survey results from 1,500 consumers. Appendices to this report outline key lifestyle indicators of today's youth, background of youth consumer segments, and sample demographics.

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Key findings include:

  • Teens may be suffering from fast-food or brand fatigue; new and exciting foodservice concepts are most likely to appeal to them.
  • Snacking tends to decrease in frequency as youth get older, but the quantity of food eaten may increase. For example, 60 per cent of 8- to 9-year-olds report that they snack every day, compared to 47 per cent of those aged 10 to 12, and 38 per cent of teens. Teens are slightly more likely than tweens to report snacking a lot (22 per cent vs. 18 per cent of tweens).
  • Because the attitudes and behaviours of tweens and teens reflect specific life stages, foodservice operators and suppliers may find success by tailoring menu offerings and marketing strategies to fit these stages. As an example, the majority of tweens report that they wish restaurants would provide a separate menu for kids their age.

The full report is now available from Technomic.