Millennials are the largest generational group next to Boomers and source over two-thirds of their dinner meals from home, making them the apple of food marketers’ eyes, finds The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Although certainly not a homogenous group, there are similarities among Millennials in what motivates them to make in-home dinner meal choices. Key among these motivators are satisfying and tasty, quick and convenient, and economical. Additionally, their significant cutback in restaurant visits — 49 visits less per Millennial in 2013 than in 2009 — make them long for an in-home dinner meal that looks and tastes like a restaurant meal, according to NPD food and beverage market research.
After satisfying and tasty, the need for speed is a key driver for Millennials’ dinner choices, finds NPD. Millennials are not willing to invest more than 15 minutes of time preparing dinner main dishes; clean up time is about half of preparation and cook time. Their cooking appliances of choice are heating in the oven and stove top, according to NPD’s Dinnertime MealScape. Regardless of their reluctance to spend much time in meal prep and cook time, Millennials still consider themselves as good a cook as the average American with 57% rating themselves as a very good cook, finds NPD’s Kitchen Audit.
Although Millennials’ dinner choices are motivated by many of the same drivers, there are differences between how Millennials without kids and Millennials with kids approach dinner. For example, Millennials without kids require more spontaneity in dinner planning than Millennials with families. Millennials without kids plan 35 percent of their in-home dinners within 30 minutes of eating and 48 percent of Millennial with kids’ dinners are planned the same day more than 30 minutes in advance, finds NPD. Millennials without families use more recipes from a variety of sources than Millennials with kids do.
“Millennials with or without kids have distinct dinner behaviors and food marketers need to understand these behaviors in order to flesh out innovation opportunities for this generation,” says Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst. “Convenience is an expectation for Millennials so provide dinnertime value while creating excitement and new experiences, and you’ll catch their attention.”