Y-Pulse: Millennial and Gen Z diners prefer convenience to cuisine, but also seek out communal meal experiences.

CHICAGO — Over the last few years, young adult consumers have developed a reputation for their interest in exploring new foods and setting trends, while also seeking out both convenient and connival dining experiences. 

[Read more: Consumers’ Satisfaction With C-store Foodservice Shifts]

The newest findings on young adult preferences comes from a Y-Pulse nationwide study of millennial and Generation Z consumers which delved into the cohorts’ dining perspectives and experiences. 

“This study found more than half of the millennial and Gen Z consumers surveyed agreed that convenience was more important than cuisine, and that was surprising and a bit unsettling,” said Sharon Olson, executive director of Y-Pulse. “Yet as we took a closer look at the … dining options available in fast casual restaurants and on college and university campuses around the country, we soon realized that there is little need for young adult consumers to have to make that choice.”

Overall, 71 percent of millennial and Gen Z respondents said they prefer meals they can consume on the go. Yet, that does not necessarily mean they are consuming those meals alone. Ninety-one percent enjoyed sharing meals with other people rather than dining alone, while 87 percent reported that they enjoy taking their to-go meal somewhere else to relax and enjoy with others. Additionally, 72 percent reported that sharing a meal with a friend or family member in the car suits their hectic lifestyle

Beyond the car grab-and-go, 77 percent of survey participants said they like convenience stores that have café seating, while 88 percent liked food markets because of the ease of sharing a meal with others when not everyone in the party wants the same type of food. For c-store operators, the research suggests simply offering customers the option of seating to enjoying meals will be attractive to this particular demographic.

The new report also found a dramatic shift in the same age cohort surveyed in a 2017 Y-Pulse study that asked the same question about convenience. Six years ago, only 44 percent of those surveyed reported convenience as more important than cuisine in their dining decisions, compared to 59 percent in the latest study. 

[Read more: Consumers Continue to Choose Takeout or Delivery Over Dining Out]

Y-Pulse conducted the survey with 2,101 consumers representative of the U.S. population nationwide. Millennials included those born between 1981 and 1996, while the Gen Z group included those 18 years or older from the total cohort born between 1997 and 2012.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Chicago, Y-Pulse is a division of Olson Communications Inc. and a certified Women’s Business Enterprise.

Source: Convenience Store News