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The Why? Behind the Dine


Things were so much simpler 30 years ago, and decidedly less exciting. In 1985, about 60 percent of food sales were through grocery stores, with foodservice commanding the remaining 40 percent.

But full-service CPG sales and marketing firm Acosta reports in its 2nd edition of “The Why? Behind the Dine” that foodservice share of spending now accounts for more than half of all food sales, surpassing grocery retail by 1.2 percentage points. Total food spending, driven by new food and meal solutions, is at an estimated $1.4 trillion.

It’s not just more choices in where to purchase food, the report indicates, but the “path to plate” is being paved by technology, less time to prepare a meal, and consumers’ increasing need to know more about the food they’re consuming.

“There have been a variety of factors affecting the food landscape over the past 30 years,” Colin Stewart, senior vice president at Acosta, said in a release. “Consumers’ desire for more convenient options in today’s fast-paced world is driving new technologies like mobile apps that can be used to track nutrition, find restaurant and retailer promotions and offers, or order foodservice and groceries for home delivery.”

During the past three months, the top five methods of food consumption among 1,500 U.S. diners surveyed in August 2015 were:

o   Eating a meal at home (95 percent)

o   Eating a restaurant meal (85 percent)

o   Getting carry-out (63 percent)

o   Using a drive-through (63 percent)

o   Eating grocery-prepared foods (57 percent)

Demographically, during the past three months:

o   64 percent of Millennial diners (18-34 years) have consumed grocery-prepared food, versus 51 percent of Baby Boomer diners (51-69 years).

o   53 percent of Gen X diners (35-50 years) have ordered restaurant delivery food, versus 23 percent of Boomer diners (51-69 years).

o   20 percent of diners with kids have ordered an online meal/ingredient kit, versus 2 percent of diners without kids.

“The Why? Behind the Dine” also indicates that diners are increasingly using digital and social tools, as well as loyalty cards, to navigate their dining decisions. Location and budget are no longer the only guiding factors in deciding how, what, where and when to eat.

To access the full report, visit



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