“It” Generation for the Foodservice Industry


Millennials made over 13 billion of the 59 billion visits made to foodservice establishments in 2010 and spent $73 billion dollars, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. The clout this generation holds is largely due to its size: there are currently 52 million Millennials, ages 18 to 29, and unlike some other adult generations, their number will increase over the next ten years, driven by immigration. Much of the buzz about this generation focuses on its collective behaviors, but a recently released NPD foodservice market research report examines the diversity among this age group.

The NPD report entitled, 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,” says 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 behaviors among Millennials 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 percent 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 Reaching the Millennial Generation report, Millennials differ from one another in a variety 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 1,933 Millennials surveyed for the report, forty-seven percent are full-time students, nine percent are part-time students, and 44 percent are not a student. Forty-four percent are not employed, 30 percent work 35 or more hours a week, and 32 percent work less than 35 hours a 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.”

Posted By: Ashley Nicole 9/11/2011