Retail Foodservice

Demand for Convenience Is Driving Foodservice Growth

New research from Acosta and Technomic shows consumers are increasingly making same-day dinner decisions
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock, graphic courtesy of Acosta, Technomic

New research from Acosta and Winsight Grocery Business sister brand Technomic sheds light on consumers' growing interest in foodservice options and demand for convenience.

According to the fourth edition of The Why? Behind The Dine, 85% of U.S. diners decide what to eat for dinner the same day the meal occurs, which has triggered the growth of convenient meal solutions across almost every category and generation since 2015.  

“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, SVP of 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 graphic

As reported in part of WGB's July Check it Out feature, 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% of total U.S. diners and 77% 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%), chicken wings (27%) and Mexican fare (21%), to barbecue (14%) and desserts (11%).
  • In 2015, only 8% of U.S. diners indicated they had ordered a meal/ingredient kit online. That figure increased by 10 percentage points to 18% 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% 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 vs. $95).
  • Healthier options continue to be important among diners with kids, with 46% eating more salads at restaurants over the past year, and 43% 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.


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