Generation Y consumers are habitual snackers who regularly skip breakfast and expect technology to be a part of their eating out experience, a new report has found.
Caterer Elior revealed the insight relationship between millennials and food in The Millennial Eater, a study that aims to understand what makes the millennial generation tick when it comes to their workplace and higher education catering.
Generation Y is generally considered to be made up of people born between 1982 and 2001, while the research specifically polled 1,000 18- to 30-year olds including 30% students.
Elior commissioned the report in a bid to better understand the eating preferences of millennials, who are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2020.
"But no one has ever attempted to fully explore their relationship with food - until now, that is. Our research highlights five key trends that define millennials' attitude to food, trends that will influence how the food industry meets their demands."
The five trends were:
Millennials tend to shun traditional mealtimes and on average they skip breakfast twice a week, suggesting an appetite for mid-morning snacks. When it comes to buying lunch, they want value, speed, convenience and quality food.
Convenience is king
Millennials are busy people. They are habitual snackers who dash into supermarkets and fast food outlets to grab a quick bite. Speed of service is the most important factor for 42% of them when buying breakfast, and 40% when buying lunch.
Social media is a second home to millennials. 66% favour outlets that are active on social media, and expect technology to be part of the eating out experience.
A healthier diet (tomorrow)
The vast majority of millennials polled (92%) said they either eat healthily, or intend to. But their food choices suggest otherwise. Sausages, bacon, burgers and fries are more popular than salads, wraps and fruit.
Cooking is the new fashion
91% of millennials cook at home, and anticipate eating out less in the coming years. They generally serve up the same meals they order when eating out.
Carina Paine Schofield, research fellow, Ashridge International Business School, said: "This significant report from Elior UK goes some way to answering key questions and closing the gap between what millennials want and what the industry currently offers. In summary, millennials expect more. More from an employer, from a food provider and from life."
Elior UK commissioned Allegra Foodservice to conduct the survey.