Industry Trends
Demographics at the Workplace May Change the Menu

Sluggish restaurant traffic growth and stalled sales in the center aisles at grocery stores are evidence that U.S. consumers’ eating behaviors are evolving.  The growing influence of Hispanics, Millennials and aging boomers are among the factors driving the shift in what and how consumers eat. 
  • Millennials- In 2015 the Millennial generation is projected to surpass the Baby Boom generation as the nation's largest living generation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau population projections.  Based on its sheer size, as Millennials go so goes the food and foodservice industries. They like fresh, less processed food, which has played out in their preference for fast casual restaurants that offer freshly prepared foods. In addition, 65 percent of U.S. Hispanics, a growing population base, are Millennials or younger.
  • Aging Boomers- While shrinking in size, this generation is still too large to ignore especially given their expected lifestyle changes. This group will be less driven by the latest fad and more by what they need to sustain their health and lifestyles.  Boomers’ restaurant visits have surpassed those of younger adults, who have cut back on visits over the past several years.
“Visits to U.S. restaurants are forecast to grow less than one percent a year over the next decade, slower than the 1.1 percent a year growth in the country’s population,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “A greater share of visits will source to those 50 years and older in 2019, but as consumers age they become less frequent restaurant users. This means the restaurant industry will have heavier dependence on lighter buyers.”
This reliance on lighter buyers will undoubtedly work its way into non-commercial foodservice as well. When looking at the top 10 items ordered at B&I locations for similar age groups, we can anticipate the potential decline in some salads and diet drinks which are top choices for those 50 years old and over.  Meanwhile, the younger generation’s preference for fast casual locations opens an opportunity for B&I foodservice to offer freshly prepared burgers, fresh-cut fries as well as rice.
Top Items Ordered from B&I
Rankings based on share of servings at the B&I channel, excluding vending, office coffee, and tap water; 2 years ending March 2014
Age of Eater: 18-34   Age of Eater: 50 and Over
Regular Carb Soft Drinks   Eggs
Bottled Water   Main Dish Salads
Vegetables (Non-Fried)   Salty Snacks
Salty Snacks   Fruit
Fruit   Leaf Side Dish Salads
French Fries   Vegetables (Non-Fried)
Eggs   Bottled Water
Total Burgers   Traditional Coffee
Traditional Coffee   Regular Carb Soft Drinks
Rice   Diet Carb Soft Drinks

The NPD Group is the industry’s leading source for foodservice trends and restaurant market research data. NPD’s CREST® service, which continually tracks consumers’ use of commercial and non-commercial foodservice, assists foodservice manufacturers, foodservice operators, and other foodservice organizations with strategic planning and positioning, product/menu development, and consumer targeting. For more information visit our website at