Report Examines Lunch

Millennials eat out most, while older diners shun value menus.

Millennials (ages 18-34) are both the heaviest users of foodservice during the lunch daypart also the most likely to frequently use value items as a way to build meals, according to the Lunch Consumer Trend Report from the Technomic, Inc., research/consulting organization. Meanwhile, older consumers are most likely to be driven by value, but they are not as likely to see the value menu as a viable lunch option.

The report examines purchasing behavior, motivations and attitudes with regard to the mid-day meal.

“Baby Boomers are motivated heavily by value, but other significant motivations include health and quality of food,” says Technomic 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 findings include…

  • During the week, consumers say that fast, portable and inexpensive lunch options are top priorities at foodservice locations.

  • Despite saying they have been increasingly bringing lunches from home during the week, more than one in three (35%) surveyed consumers 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 say they replace lunch with a snack at least once a week. Technomic suggests that operators can appeal to such consumers by offering a greater selection of smaller-portioned and better-for-you options.

  • Almost half (47%) of consumers say 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 say they eat a wide variety of foods for lunch, so variety and customization options remain important.

The 2011 Lunch Consumer Trend Report is available on Technomic's online Access platform. To purchase or learn more go to [2].