Lunch Behavior Varies by Generation
CHICAGO -- The heaviest users of foodservice during the lunch daypart are millennials (ages 18 to 34), and they are also the most likely to frequently use value items as a way to build meals.
That's according to new research conducted by Technomic for its latest Lunch Consumer Trend Report, which noted that even though older consumers are most likely to be driven by value, they are not as likely to see the value menu as a viable lunch option.
"Baby boomers are motivated heavily by value, but other significant motivations include health and quality of food," said Technomic's Director of Consumer Research Sara Monnette. "The most health-conscious consumers skew 45 and older, so their value equation is different than that of a younger person who sees value primarily as a price issue. Older consumers are less likely to perceive value in dollar menu items because of the broader context of their motivations."
Other select findings from the research include:
-- During the week, consumers said fast, portable and inexpensive lunch options are top priorities at restaurants and other foodservice locations. On the weekend, however, these lunchtime preferences shift, as consumers pay more attention to customization and fresh preparation than other attributes.
-- Despite saying they have been increasingly bringing lunches from home during the week, more than one in three surveyed consumers (35 percent) still purchase lunch from a restaurant or other foodservice location at least twice a week, and roughly one-third of all lunch occasions include food from restaurants or other foodservice operations.
-- More than half of all consumers indicate they skip lunch at least once a week, and about two-thirds said they replace lunch with a snack at least once a week. Operators can likely appeal to consumers who frequently replace lunch with snacks by offering a greater selection of smaller-portioned and better-for-you options.
-- Almost half of consumers (47 percent) said they primarily visit the same few familiar restaurants at lunch. However, even though they might stick to a relatively small number of restaurants, two out of five still said they eat a wide variety of foods for lunch, so variety and customization options remain important.
The Lunch Consumer Trend Report is now available on Technomic's online platform. To purchase or learn more about this report, visit www.Technomic.com.