U.S. Diners Seek Convenience When Making Eating Decisions

U.S. Diners Seek Convenience When Making Eating Decisions

Choosing what to eat for dinner is a decision not made until the day of the meal for 85 percent of Americans, according to new research. The report found the desire for convenient meal solutions grew across almost every category and generation since it was last studied in 2015. The results are in the 4th edition of The Why? Behind The Dine from Acosta, a sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, and Technomic, a research and consulting firm in the food industry.

“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.

The report presents a comprehensive overview of dining habits across generations and key segments. Highlights from the report include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Published: July 18th, 2018

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