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Different generations are shaping eating trends

LC Table of Guests

Younger generations (Generation Z and Millennial) will lead vastly different lifestyles from their predecessors, particularly when it comes to foodservice consumption behaviour.


These consumers are more ethnically diverse, have been exposed to a wider variety of cuisines at youth, and have grown up more reliant on foodservice than members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. Technomic recently examined Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers to understand how the Canadian foodservice landscape will evolve as younger generations’ spending power grows. But though a strong presence among younger generations will be essential for success, operators and suppliers must also engage Baby Boomers who still comprise the largest share of Canada’s population.

“In order to stay relevant to specific generations without alienating others and still appeal to a broad base, it’s essential to understand not just generational differences, but also the similarities.” says Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic, Inc. “Seasonal menus and LTOs, for example, enable operators to appeal across groups — these options provide exciting new dishes for younger generations who want to experiment with new foods, flavours and create unique experiences, while allowing them to maintain a familiar menu for older generations who tend to look for their tried-and-true favourites.”

Using actionable data from 1,150 consumers aged 13—70, as well as Technomic’s exclusive Knowledge Center, the 2016 Canadian Generational Consumer Trend Report serves as a guide for foodservice operators and suppliers to understand generational similarities and differences. Expert insights in the 2016 Canadian Generational Consumer Trend Report identify key areas of opportunity to capitalize on consumer trends.

Key takeaways and opportunities from the report include:

  • Generation Zers’ (aged 13—23) will increasingly seek new flavours as they gain independence and are exposed to a wider variety of ethnic cuisines
  • Millennials (aged 24—39) and Gen Xers (aged 40—50) currently drive interest in ethnic flavours
  • Some Baby Boomers (aged 51—70) are reaching their peak earning potential while others have retired and are living on fixed incomes. While they share similar food preferences, they seek different price points