As of 2019, the millennial consumer will officially take over as the largest living demographic with the most buying power. And what does this emerging demographic crave most? Convenience, quality, and information. According to a report released by the USDA, millenials tend to eat approximately 2.3% of their meals out of the home. So what does this mean for the restaurant business and food trends for 2019? Curious? Keep reading.
The millennial consumer has been changing the food industry year to year by challenging restauranteurs to take a deeper look into their menu items and nutrition information isn’t the only thing on their minds anymore. It is no longer sufficient to only find out the calorie count, nutrient content and allergen information of a given menu item, Millennials also want to know where their food is coming from. Is it locally sourced? Humanely cultivated? Organic?
According to Jean Imbert, the executive chef at L’Acajou in Paris quoted in Food and Wine,
“People want to know more and more about where their food is coming from. They don’t want to ignore what they’re eating anymore, which forces chefs to take a closer look at sourcing.”
The farm to table social movement began in the early 2,000’s and has only increased in popularity since then, impacting the food service industry in monumental ways. Farm-to-table changes the way the average person eats by increasing the freshness of an item by shortening it’s travel from producer to restaurant, hence the aptly named movement. Menu boards reflecting a farm to table approach are extremely appealing to this unconventional demographic and will likely garner increased traffic to your restaurant by the Millennial consumer.
Millennials are not only in search for quality and freshness, but convenience. Accessible nutrition information via proper menu labeling is another way to appeal to this emerging population. At-a-glance nutrition facts providing serving size, calorie counts, and other nutrient information provide an ease in making a choice between menu items. Many restaurants have even resorted to the use of a dietitian accompanied by nutrition analysis software to provide this information to their inquisitive customers. Menu recipe analysis performed by a nutrition professional is a way to offer the convenience of information with the backing of quality, increasing your appeal to the Millennial customer.
Believe it or not, Millennials are challenging not only the route by which food is consumed but the atmosphere and dining experience as well. Over the years, it has been common practice to be more connected to one’s social media while out to eat than with the actual people accompanying you. In 2019, disconnecting from the world to connect with friends is the new trend. Millennials are beginning to shut off their phones in search of a more communal experience with their social group. An atmosphere conducive to this type of dining experience such as family style dining or even small shareable plates as well as a social ambience and altered table placement will be the up and coming Millennial movement within the food industry. Unplugged-themed restaurants are beginning to enter the market with the emphasis on disconnecting to connect all driven by innovative Millennial thinking.
As the years go by, the food service industry is influenced by many factors. Understanding your primary demographic as trends change is the key to remaining relevant in this ever-evolving industry. And the Millennial has no intention of slowing down their innovative movement in the industry or influence on the way we experience food anytime soon.