Study: Gen Z Consumers Prefer Grab-and-Go Dining Concepts

CHICAGO—What does the next generation of travelers want out of F&B concepts? A new study from Y-Pulse examines young consumers’ interest in grab-and-go dining. Using insights drawn from the Kids Dining Study and the School Meal Innovation Lab, a study that presented 900 K-12 consumers with 10 new foodservice menu concepts for their evaluation, the report also explored Gen Z’s complex food culture and dining behaviors at and away from home.

The study revealed that the menu items that were among kids’ favorites were also items ideal for grab-and-go dining. Seventy-seven percent of consumers ages 8-18 said they either liked or loved the Banana Berry Smoothie, described as a creamy smoothie made with bananas, berries, yogurt and milk, topped with fresh fruit and homemade granola. Sixty-four percent of consumers ages 8-18 said they either liked or loved the Overnight Oatmeal, described as creamy and hearty overnight oats in milk, layered with fresh fruit and yogurt. And 61% of consumers ages 8-18 said they either liked or loved the Tex-Mex Breakfast Bowl, described as a bowl of eggs, cheese and beans served on top of roasted potatoes, peppers and onions, with salsa on the side.

“With a seemingly endless stream of sources competing for their attention, Gen Z consumers are busier than ever, and they need convenient, flexible food choices that can accommodate their schedules,” said Sharon Olson, executive director of Y-Pulse. “Snacks and meals that can be eaten on the go are a necessity for today’s young consumers as they work to nourish their growing minds and bodies.”

Notably, all of these top-scoring concepts are also suitable for grab-and-go breakfast service. While the study found that kids of all ages have interest in getting their morning fuel on the go, the popularity of grab-and-go breakfast rises significantly as kids age and gain the autonomy to make their own dining decisions. Seventy-two percent of 18-year-old consumers surveyed said that when it comes to breakfast, they like to grab something they can eat on their way, compared to 66% of 14-year-old consumers and 46% of 8-year-old consumers.

Additionally, 91% of consumers ages 8-18 said that they like restaurants where they can get their food quickly.