Changing The Way Diners Engage With Foodservice

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Across the U.S., 85 percent of diners decide what to eat for dinner the same day the meal occurs, so it may not come as a surprise that compared to 2015, convenient meal solutions grew across almost every category and generation. Research released today in the 4th edition of The Why? Behind The Dine from Acosta, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, and Technomic, a fact-based research and consulting firm in the food industry, explores the most recent dining developments and motivators that are changing the way diners engage with foodservice.

“Whether it’s enjoying a family dinner out or picking up carry-out food, diners are seeking convenient, healthy options for themselves and their families,” said Colin Stewart, Senior Vice President at Acosta. “We are seeing more diners take advantage of the seemingly endless array of meal solutions, be it a quick trip through the drive-thru, grocery prepared foods, lunch from a food truck, or preparing dinner using a meal/ingredient kit.

Acosta and Technomic’s The Why? Behind The Dine™ presents a comprehensive overview of dining habits across generations and key segments. Highlights from the report include:

Convenient Eats

  • Delivery food continues to be a popular meal solution for diners. In the three months leading up to the survey, 51 percent of total U.S. diners and 77 percent of Millennial diners reported ordering delivery food.
  • Pizza isn’t the only food diners want delivered. Diners surveyed expressed interest in everything from hamburgers (28 percent), chicken wings (27 percent) and Mexican fare (21 percent), to barbecue (14 percent) and desserts (11 percent).
  • In 2015, only eight percent of U.S. diners indicated they had ordered a meal/ingredient kit online. That figure increased by 10 percentage points to 18 percent of total U.S. diners by 2017, with more diners with kids and Millennial diners engaging with this option.

Welcoming Gen Z to the Table

  • Gen Z diners are already outpacing Boomer and Silent diners in reported monthly spending on food prepared outside the home.
  • Fifty-eight percent of Gen Z diners agreed they use the internet to find the best restaurant deals, the most of any generation.
  • Nearly 70 percent of Gen Z diners agreed they like it when they have restaurant leftovers for another meal.

Dining Out All Stars: Diners with Kids

  • Diners with kids reported their monthly spending on food prepared outside the home was more than twice that of diners without kids ($208 versus $95).
  • Healthier options continue to be important among diners with kids, with 46 percent eating more salads at restaurants over the past year, and 43 percent eating more restaurant meals with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Diners with kids are plugged in while dining out. Twenty-eight percent connect to Wi-Fi on their personal mobile device while at a restaurant.

The 4th edition of The Why? Behind The Dine™ study was fielded in November 2017 in partnership with Technomic Inc., using a random sample of 1,500 U.S. diners. To access the full report, click here.

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