Recession causing millennials to choose frozen foods over restaurants

Millennials turning more to frozen, convenient foods, NPD reports

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If you’re a restauranteur seeking to reach twentysomethings, you might want to rethink your strategy.

America’s twentysomethings, known as the Millennial generation or generation Y, tend to live in the moment when it comes to making food choices, The NPD Group has reported. According to recent NPD food market research, Millennials are more likely to say their food choices at main meals are motivated by cravings, cost control and minimal preparation time. That means they are much more likely than consumers in other age groups to use frozen entrees or other food items that are portable and do not require preparation. As with most of these food offerings, there is usually little opportunity for leftovers, which correlates to their relatively low rate of leftover usage.

In addition to convenience, cost control is a major motivation for Millennials, and frozen food and other convenience-oriented food products often provide relatively inexpensive meal solutions.

According to NPD’s CRESTR foodservice market research, young adults were once the heaviest restaurant users but have cut back dramatically in the last two years. Meals and snack occasions per capita for ages 18-24, dropped from 242 in the year ending May 2008 to 216 in the year ending May 2010. For ages, 25 to 34, meals and snack occasions per capita declined from 257 in year ending May 2008 to 238 in year ending May 2010.

“Cost concern is particularly important to this age group since they have been among the hardest hit by the recession,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for The NPD Group. “The unemployment rate for adults under 30 was 19.5% for the second quarter of 2010, a rate more than double the 9.5% seen for the total workforce.”

Millennials are coping with their economic challenges by making use of low-priced retailers. National Eating Trends finds that one-third of Millennials use mass merchants, such as Wal-mart, as their primary food store, compared to 23 percent for all adults.


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