What’s for Dinner Depends on Who's Eating

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What’s for Dinner Depends on Who's Eating


The NPD Group's "A Generational Study: The Evolution of Eating" takes an in-depth look at each generation's innovations, needs and wants when it comes to dinner. The report finds their various eating styles to be as different as the music that each generation listens to and calls their own. 

According to the report, Millennials, who are all about personalization and wanting to add their own touch, want more control and involvement in the foods and meals they eat and believe that playing a part in the cooking process equates to “cooking from scratch"; as a result, this generation has shifted some of their dinner occasions from eating out to preparing meals at home. Millennials have also been incorporating more side dishes into their dinners. 

Gen Xers, meanwhile,  plan dinner meals around the family and calendar. Pretty exciting. ‘Nuff said about this group. 

Boomers, who are now empty nesters and/or concerned about their health and wellness, are shifting some of their dinner occasions from in-home to restaurants. Boomers are also decreasing their side dishes and are focused on the center of the plate. 

Other trends NPD sees include that homemade cooking has stabilized after decades of decline, due to the increased interest in cooking among young adults, and that center-of-plate proteins have rebounded among kids, teens and young adults, while older adults are consuming less protein.  

The topline of the report is that  “Millennials and Boomers answer the ‘what’s for dinner’ question differently. An understanding of the motivations and needs that drive each group’s answer to the dinner question will assist manufacturers and retailers in meeting their needs today and inform the future.”