Contemporary Cuisine for the Current Consumer

Age groups seem to shed light on the interests of different demographics with all the statistics on many industries and what people are buying. Among the many numerous interests of consumers is their role in the food industry. While a person’s age group does not determine what kind of foods they like and how they prefer to eat their meals, there are strong trends that show how supermarkets can help cater to their varied customers.

Fewer Meals per Household
Families are still eating meals at home and with the busy world we live in, cooking at home has become less frequent. However, with Millennials dominating the market as the largest living generation, supermarkets are shifting focus on them. According to the article “The ‘Modern Family’ and Its Impact on Food and Beverage Consumption” by L.E.K. Consulting, by 2020, they will be responsible for 40% of discretionary spending in U.S. With decreasing sizes of households, lower marriage rates and slower birth rates, millennial households are smaller. As a result, single and two-person households are expected to account for 80% of household growth through 2020.

Prepared food departments can appeal to these statistics by offering more single serving prepared meals. Millennials are highly experimental with new foods and are willing to pick up a variety of meals for one person. Double packages of meals are also popular with young couples who are holding off on having children or for people looking to make the most of their purchase. Overall, offering more options for prepared meals could bring in more Millennials more frequently looking for a fast meal.

Healthy Options
The older the generation, the more health-conscious they are. In a recent International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation Food and Health Survey, Baby Boomers showed the most interest in foods perceived as healthy compared to other generations. Since the perception of “healthy” differs depending on the group, the survey considered how many people cared about what they considered as healthy, which varies among generation. Some of Boomers’ top food interests include weight management, cardiovascular health and digestive health options, while Millennials generally look at foods that affect mental health, muscle health and immunity.

Another factor Boomers consider more is a smaller serving size being a healthier option, with added sugars as a detriment to meals. Offering meals or portions that are smaller than the standard size can work in the favor of both the buyer and seller if priced accordingly considering the size. With all these different factors of what customers find healthy, when offering prepared meals or simply meat in the meat department or bread in the bakery, an assortment of products that fall in the “health” category will draw in those looking for nutritious options. While stocking something that satisfies every health category for all generations, taking note of the most popular health trends can maximize sales.

Snacking
One trend that is up among all age groups is snacking between meals. While the 3 square meals a day may be around the same size, the extra snacks per day may contribute to how much consumers will be purchasing for each meal. According to the L.E.K. article, 94% of Americans showed to be snacking at least once per day, with an increasing frequency, which applies to all demographics.

These snacks are not just limited to foods like potato chips since natural snacks consumed have increased 12.5% between 2013 and 2014 and have shown steady growth since. Danielle Romano from Convenience Store News says “Snacks are seen as in-between meal fillers; not required for nutritional balance; happening fluidly; and an individualized and personalized experience.” Since these snacks are not replacing meals in some cases, supermarkets could start offering snacks packs in their prepared food section. If customers are in to get something for lunch, perhaps they can grab a snack for later. If a customer is in for a snack, maybe they will also notice some great prepared dinners for later at an adjacent setup. Appealing to the snack market can naturally lead customers to other dishes in the prepared foods department.