Reaching tomorrow's tastemakers today

Research Highlights Archive

2016 Research Highlights

Creating Loyal Customers from Kindergarten through Graduation

August 2016

Leading foodservice directors from 60 school districts were surveyed about communication strategies and programs used to strengthen student participation and loyalty for on-campus dining. School district foodservice directors overwhelmingly reported that hands-on programs keep young consumers interested in school nutrition programs, with taste testing being the most important.

Read this Study to learn more about:

  • The importance of taste testing new food items to keep students engaged in school nutrition programs
  • The impact of kitchen tours and nutrition education classes on student loyalty for meals served at school
  • Communication strategies employed by school district foodservice leaders to keep students and their parents engaged in the school meal program

Social Media on Campus

April 2016

College and university foodservice professionals and full time student consumers were surveyed about their use of social media related to a wide range of campus venues including: residential dining, convenience stores, quick service restaurants, vending and catering on campus. Y-Pulse conducted the first study exclusively focused on social media usage related to campus foodservice in 2010; this new study provides insight into what is trending now and how social media usage compares to five years ago.

Read this Study to learn more about:

  • The social media platforms students use for information on campus foodservice and how these platforms have changed over the past 5 years
  • The information students seek out from campus foodservice venues
  • Ways in which foodservice professionals communicate to students and what social media policies they have in place

2015 Research Highlights

Y-Pulse School Foodservice Leadership Survey

July 2015

Leading school foodservice professionals were surveyed about their experience and opions about the eating habits and preferences of Gen Z consumers in elementary, middle and high school today. Thirty-two industry leaders were surveyed prior to the School Nutrition Association Annual National Conference and Y-Pulse hosted a reception for participants to get together and share their thoughts in person in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 12, 2015. The survey delved into the similarities and differences between elementary, middle and high school students when it comes to serving them meals at school.

Read this Study to learn more about:

  • What menu items elementary, middle and high school students are likely to enjoy this coming year
  • How students' tastes change as they grow from elementary school to high school
  • What were the biggest changes seen in students eating habits over the past year
  • What the biggest challenges are in menu planning

Gen Z on Campus

July 2015

Leading college and university foodservice professionals were surveyed about their experiences with and opinions on the eating habits and preferences of their student consumers. Fifty-six industry leaders including dining services directors, chefs, and registered dietitians were surveyed prior to the National Association of College and University Food Services Conference and personal interviews were conducted during the conference in Indianapolis, Indiana July 22-25, 2015.

Read this Study to learn more about:

  • What's on the minds of next generation consumers when it comes to dining
  • How the dining habits of Gen Z has evolved from those of the Millennials
  • What the biggest challenges are in menu planning for Gen Z

The Dream Kitchen Survey®

February 2015

Leading foodservice operators were surveyed in conjunction with the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) conference to gain insight about the impact of menu trends on their professional kitchens and to guide innovation teams at leading food equipment manufacturers.

Read this study to gain insight about:

  • Equipment that operators are using
  • Top causes of pain, frustration and aggravation for operators
  • Menu trends that are impacting equipment purchases
  • Equipment that is in demand for non-commercial operations

2014 Research Highlights

Top 10 Foodservice Trends on Campus

July 2014

Ten years ago Y-Pulse began tracking foodservice trends through the nation’s leading foodservice directors in the education segments to give food marketers insight on what would shape the tastes of tomorrow’s consumers, and this latest report identifies how young consumers tastes are setting the pace for tomorrow’s menus.

In K-12 schools, lunch has become a learning lab empowering young consumers with the knowledge they need to make mindful nutritious choices. Today’s school foodservice directors are serving up a lot more than breakfast and lunch; 96% consider teaching nutrition education to be an important part of their job. On college and university campuses foodservice directors are on the cutting edge of experimentation with new foods, new concepts and new delivery systems for some of the most demanding consumers in America.

Read this Study to find out more about these Top 10 Foodservice Trends on Campus:

  • Healthy By Design
  • Wellness as a Way of Life
  • Culinary Nutrition On Campus
  • Cooking Is Back In Style
  • Technology Enabled Connections
  • Community Building
  • Refining the Dining Experience
  • Parents Back In School
  • The Global Kitchen
  • Food with a Conscience

Dividing the Millennial Generation: Snacking Behavior by Age and Lifestyle

July 2014

Y-Pulse® ( and The Culinary Visions® Panel collaborated to conduct a survey with over 1,000 consumers to better understand how consumers in different age groups and life stages approach food choices and the factors that drive their purchase decisions.

The focus of the study was on snacking behavior because younger consumers in particular eat more small meals or snacks throughout the day rather than traditional meals favored by their parents and grandparents. Overall, Millennial consumers do not care as much about defining an eating experience as a meal or snack as they do about satisfying their need to eat what they want, when and where they choose to eat it.

The Millennial generation includes consumers born between 1977 and 1992 who are 19 to 36 years old today. This study took a closer look at younger Millennials, ages 19-25, middle Millennials, ages 26-30 and older Millennials, ages 31-36. An understanding of different age groups and their lifestyles is important to understanding the factors that influence their food decisions away from home. Young consumers who are still finishing college and living at home behave differently than those in transition to their own financial independence or those who are heads of their own households with young children.

Read this study to learn more about:

  • What characteristics influence snack choices for day time snacks and night time snacks
  • How snack choice differ for Millennials living with roommates from those living alone or with their families
  • How much Millennial consumers in different age and lifestyle groups are willing to pay for snack foods they consider high in value
  • How Millennials feel about service that is enhanced by technology
  • Different perceptions Millennials have about snack they buy on campus versus those they purchase from other foodservice venues

School Foodservice Director Survey

February 2014

Leading school foodservice professionals from school districts throughout the U.S. were surveyed to learn about the magnitude of their responsibilities; the skill sets they have and those they would like to have in relation to running their nutrition programs. Over 88% of school foodservice directors have college degrees and more than 35% have advanced degrees.

In addition to their responsibilities for menu planning, and managing labor and food costs, today’s school foodservice directors have an important role in making school kitchens more efficient and cafeterias and dining areas more inviting for students.

Read this study to learn what school foodservice directors had to say about their responsibilities in running school nutrition programs:

  • Teaching nutrition education as an important part of the foodservice director’s job
  • How important it is to have knowledge and skills in planning equipment needs and purchases
  • The importance of communication skills in disseminating information to various audiences that include school administrators, parents, students and opinion leaders in the communities they serve

What Gen Next Chefs Are Cooking Up

January 2014

Culinary educators around the country were surveyed about what they are teaching to the next generation of chefs. Y-Pulse surveyed 49 chef educators and 27 culinary students about ingredients and techniques they thought were trending now and what was emerging as the next hot trend. The study included food, beverage, condiments and cooking methods.

Culinary instructors shared their thoughts on the most important things they are teaching their students today. They felt that local and sustainable are the menu development imperatives for today’s chef to understand. Classic European cuisine is important, yet modern cooking techniques are also on the curriculum.

The chefs of tomorrow will be creating delicious menus that hit important health and wellness goals. Today’s culinary students are learning about unconventional venues and working from a global pantry of ingredients to prepare a wide range of ethnic offerings.

Read this study to learn more about:

  • The importance of locally grown produce and sustainability on today’s menus
  • How important ancient grains and black rice may be on tomorrow’s menus
  • How craft beer, culinary cocktails, barrel aged drinks and housemade soft drinks are faring on beverage menus
  • Specialty salts and ethnic spices in signature dishes
  • How techniques like sous vide and smoking are transforming menu offerings

2013 Research Highlights

Away From Home Dining Choices of Tomorrow’s Tastemakers – presented at The Flavor Experience Conference, Newport Beach, California

August 2013

Y-Pulse surveyed young consumers, 8-13 years old, about what motivates them to make the decisions they make regarding their food and beverage choices away from home. This study also includes a review of what’s on the menu at the top chains and how those choices connect with what kids really want. They might be young but they are restaurant savvy, more educated than any previous generation on nutrition, and are very involved in their family’s decisions to dine out.

This Y-Pulse survey of 500 boys and girls ages 8 to 13 throughout the U.S. provides kids’ perspectives about their favorite places to eat and their favorites foods, including:

  • Which away from home venues are kid favorites and why – quick service restaurants, casual dining chains or independents, convenience stores, shopping mall food courts and school cafeterias
  • How kids define quality when assessing away from home choices
  • How kids of different ages feel about ordering from the kids’ menu

Professional Insight: Wellness On Campus – presented at National Association of College & University Food Services Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota

July 2013

Leading foodservice directors, chefs and registered dietitians working on college campuses throughout the country were surveyed to gain their perspectives on campus wellness programs. The professional surveys were compared with college consumer surveys and a review of leading campus programs around the country.

The study delved into the consumer mega trend of Life in Balance and how colleges and universities are developing trend setting programs that impact the consumers of tomorrow every day. This study explored:

  • The dynamics of wellness on campus and how foodservice can play a leading role in overall campus wellness initiatives
  • Perspectives on what’s to come in campus wellness programs
  • Critical components of successful wellness programs
  • Foodservice professional insight compared to college consumer perspectives on wellness initiatives

Consumer Insight: Wellness On Campus – presented at National Association of College & University Food Services Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota

July 2013

Full time college students throughout the country were surveyed to gain their perspectives on campus wellness programs. Consumer surveys were compared with input from leading foodservice directors, chefs and registered dietitians working on college campuses. An in-depth review of consumer insight from social media sources was conducted in tandem with the original research to identify leading campus wellness programs around the country.

200 full time college students were surveyed about their perspectives on wellness program offerings on their campuses. Read this study to understand more about:

  • Importance of Wellness Programs on Campus
  • How important is foodservice relative to other aspects of campus life that contribute to wellness
  • Where does wellness rank in the lists of concerns students have related to their current lifestyle
  • Perspective on what students would like to see on their campus to enhance their health and well being

The Food and Flavor Desires of Tomorrow’s Tastemakers – presented at Culinary Institute of America, Healthy Flavors Healthy Kids Conference, San Antonio, Texas

May 2013

This is the third in a series of studies started in 2006 that explores how kids feel about dining at home, in quick service and table service restaurants, schools, convenience stores and shopping mall food courts. Kids know what they like and are quick to provide feedback about why they like their favorite venues and their ideas to improve the food experience at these venues.

The meals that score highest with kids today are similar to those from the original studies: pizza, chicken, pasta and sandwiches. Yet today, kids are ordering a wide range of ethnic variations on chicken and saying they are eating salads more often at school.

Y-Pulse conducted a survey of 500 boys and girls ages 8 to 13 throughout the U.S. to learn more about their favorite places to eat and their favorites foods. This study provides information such as:

  • Which away from home venues are kid favorites and why
  • What are kids’ favorite foods at home and away from home
  • What’s changing in school lunch

Youth Lifestyle Monitor™

April 2013

This nationwide study surveyed 500 boys and girls ages 8 to 13 about where they like to eat, the foods and beverages they enjoy and how they decide what to choose in different foodservice venues to get a perspective on their total lifestyle.  

Y-Pulse has been studying kids' eating habits since 2006.  Although methodologies have evolved since that time, there are some evolutionary changes that can be noted and some of the data from the 2010 study can be compared directly to the 2013 study. 

Read this study to learn more about the kids’ preferences since the 2006 Youth Lifestyle Monitor™:

  • Kids have become more positive about school cafeterias and quick service restaurants
  • Their favorite place to eat has moved from sit down restaurants to home
  • Malls and convenience stores have slipped in preference
  • They continue to have positive opinions of restaurants with table service

The Dream Kitchen Survey®

February 2013

A roundtable discussion of industry leaders was held in conjunction with the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) conference in Orlando.

Y-Pulse announced a new collaboration with Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine to expand the scope of the Dream Kitchen Survey® beyond the education segments to include all major segments of the foodservice industry. Participants from schools, colleges, business & industry, restaurant chain and hotel sectors shared what was on their minds and in their plans regarding kitchen design and what they were in search of at the NAFEM conference.

Read this study to learn what they had to say about:

  • Menu trends driving kitchen design
  • Flexibility and smaller footprints
  • Inspired and equipped kitchen employees
  • Green teams

2012 Research Highlights

Added Sugar and Sweeteners, School Foodservice Perspective

September 2012

Leading school foodservice directors across the country were surveyed to gain their perspectives on the use of sugar, artificial sweeteners and corn sweeteners. They shared their own opinions and also their perspectives on how well informed their students, teachers, parents and the media are about credible nutritional information related to sweeteners.

Read this study to learn what school foodservice directors had to say about:

  • The use of various types of sweeteners in school foodservice
  • School Wellness Policies that have language limiting added sugars and sweeteners
  • The opinions of their key audiences — students, teachers and parents

The Dream Kitchen Survey®

July 2012

Leading education foodservice professionals gathered to discuss their perspectives on the Dream Kitchen during the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) National Conference and the School Nutrition Association (SNA) Annual National Conference. They shared their experiences and perspectives related to kitchens and consumers they serve in the education segments.

Read this study to learn what they had to say about:

  • Delivering a retail experience on campus in schools and colleges
  • Open architecture that brings the kitchen to the customer
  • What's new on today's campus menus that drives kitchen design

2011 Research Highlights

College Mega Trends

March 2011

Foodservice manufacturers who serve the college and university market were surveyed to gain their perspectives on trends they see on college campuses across the country.

Read this study to gain insight on the four mega trends indentified for 2011:

  • Global Flavors — More than 50% of food manufacturers are introducing new products that relate to global flavors while 46% are developing new ethnic-inspired recipes for their operator customers
  • Nutrition — Manufacturers are steadily providing more enhanced nutritional statements to their operator customers
  • Food Democracy — Sustainability is the primary Food Ethics trend in colleges today
  • Food Ethics — Knowing campus students on each campus is key to understanding the value of price versus ethical standards

The Dream Kitchen Survey®

February 2011

Major city school foodservice professionals gathered to discuss their perspectives on the Dream Kitchen during the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Conference in Orlando to talk about the innovations they saw and those they were continuing to seek for their school foodservice operations.

Read this study to learn what they had to say about:

  • How non-product value that goes beyond features and price can make the difference in their equipment purchases
  • What leading equipment manufacturers are doing to support their business today and tomorrow
  • The effect of segment specific training on brand loyalty
  • Value engineering that lowers price with too many compromises doesn't make the grade

2010 Research Highlights

Millennials’ Dining Preferences

December 2010

If there is one thing that can be said for certain regarding the dining preferences of Millennials, it's that they know what they want and they know when they want it. And if you thought that the most important factor in selecting where to eat was whether or not they have a "fourth meal," think again.

Y-Pulse conducted a survey of Millennials (16-33 year olds) to assess the factors involved in deciding where to eat when eating/ordering out. Read this study to uncover:

  • Which service factors matter the most to this age group
  • Which menu factors Millennials look for when deciding where to eat
  • How they learn about new restaurants to try

Youth Lifestyle Monitor™

October 2010

Who knew that tweens crave sushi? Or that it may not be so hard, after all, to get kids to eat healthy? If school foodservice professionals didn't know such surprising palate pleasers before, they do now.

In a recent survey of nearly 1,800 youngsters between the ages of 5 and 15 from across the nation, kids gave insight on their favorite foods and flavors. Read this study to find out:

  • Which globally inspired foods are on their list of favorites
  • The importance of fresh and healthy foods
  • What students would do to improve their school cafeterias

Healthy Vending in Schools

July 2010

This study received the School Nutrition Association Showcase Award for Research in 2010. Y-Pulse tapped 24 leading school foodservice professionals who handle vending operations and over 1,600 elementary school students to explore their attitudes and behaviors related healthy vending in schools.

Foodservice professionals unanimously agreed that product freshness and availability of items was important to their consumers. They also believed that pricing and the method of payment were a top concerns to their students. The appearance of a machine was also important to students' vending choices.

Read this study to find out:

  • Which healthy and fresh foods leading school foodservice vending operators felt
  • would be most important to their operations
  • How important "green" vending strategies are to vending operations in schools
  • Which promotion tactics are used to promote healthy vending in schools

Social Media: What’s Next?

July 2010

Foodservice operators may be ahead of the curve when it comes to using social media to get information about their menus and operations out to students. But they may need to wait for the students to catch up, or make sure they get the word out that they are using social media tools and what those tools are.

In a recent Y-Pulse survey of nearly 300 students and 20 leading college and university foodservice operators, respondents shared their perspectives and insights on how they're using social media. Read this study to explore:

  • The types of information students want to receive about the food and beverage offerings from different college and university foodservice venues
  • Which social media platforms students are using the most and which students are using the least to get information
  • Which social media platforms foodservice operators are using the most

2009 Research Highlights

Vending Trends in Colleges and Universities

October 2009

For all of their wireless technology and social media interconnectedness, sometimes all college or university students want to do is pick something good, healthy, affordable and convenient with a simple push of a button. Regardless of whether students are pulling all-nighters during finals week or rushing to get to their next class on time, sometimes what they really need is a quick snack.

College and university foodservice professionals who serve nearly 115,000 students nationwide participated in a recent e-focus group where they provided insight about vending operations on college and university campuses. This study reports:

  • Concerns of students when choosing vending machine snacks
  • Trends affecting today's college and university vending operations
  • Challenges operators face when building the "ultimate vending operations"

Vending Trends in Schools

October 2009

They're young. They're tech savvy. They're demanding and informed beyond their years, compared to previous generations. And for many school-age consumers, even a simple push of a button at a vending machine isn't so simple anymore. When it comes to vending machines these days, kids are very concerned about product freshness, availability and variety, similar to interests and demands of the broader consumer marketplace.

An e-focus group, operators who serve nearly 200,000 students nationwide on a daily basis answered key questions about vending machines in schools. Read this study to discover:

  • Concerns of kids when it comes to vending machines
  • Considerations to be taken when building school vending operations
  • Changes school foodservice professionals would make if given the opportunity to upgrade their current vending operations

What Are Gen Y Chefs Cooking Up

October 2009

Aspiring chefs will be the menu makers of tomorrow and they are starting to influence dining trends today, from the use of molecular gastronomy to the increasing incorporation of artisan, farmstead and locally-produced ingredients.

The study is about what chefs of tomorrow are thinking about through a survey of the culinary students, now in their 20s and early 30s. This study provides menu insight from chefs who will be serving their contemporaries. Read it to find out what may likely be on tomorrow's menus:

  • Good and good to go: Nine out of 10 respondents said they have used local and hand-held foods "somewhat" or "to a great extent," while more than half said that they have explored the use of green kitchens and foods that meet special dietary needs
  • Fab Flav: "Hot" right now flavors include: fruit flavors like citrus, strawberry or mango; vegetable flavors with a roasted or herb-infused profile; and cultural flavors spanning Mediterranean, Asian and Hispanic cuisines. Combinations of flavors were also emphasized
  • Form over function: Interest is high in creative forms when presenting foods, from bite-sized or tapas portions to food containers like bread bowls to environmentally-friendly forms with minimal packaging

2008 Research Highlights

The Dream Kitchen Survey®

July 2008

At the School Nutrition Association (SNA) 2008 Annual National Conference, leading foodservice operators gathered to discuss their perspectives on the school foodservice Dream Kitchen. They shared their experiences, ideas and challenges. Sustainable equipment, properly trained employees, and shelf-stable foods were some of the key components mentioned that operators need in order to meet the expectations of students.

A roundtable discussion was held at the SNA 2008 conference which consisted of leading foodservice operators. They shared their past experiences, compared stories, and discussed what kids really want. This study reveals:

  • The keen insights of foodservice directors and what they think about kitchen design
  • Primary menu trends affecting equipment purchases
  • The administrative roadblocks that stand in the way of purchasing equipment

A Slice of the Youth Market

July 2008

Kids these days are as unpredictable as the weather. They are interested in one activity one second, and going in the complete opposite direction a minute later. If you want to capture their attention for longer than five minutes, you've got your work cut out for you. That is, if you don't happen to have a warm, fresh baked pizza on hand. Pizza has always been a winner among kids, but it's not the same old cheese and pepperoni-topped quick meal it used to be. Kids' appetites are evolving and maturing. They are open to trying new toppings that most people would never consider putting on top of a pizza. And they're not just eating pizza at home during game night with their parents; they're ordering them at restaurants and grabbing slices in the lunch line of their cafeterias. Read this study to identify:

  • The ever-growing list of unconventional toppings kids are trying
  • The most important factor when it comes to pizza toppings
  • The more nutritious pizza styles kids are requesting

2007 Research Highlights

Ethnic Foods in Schools

May 2007

The student populations in schools across the country have become increasingly more diverse over the past decade. Like the student populations, the types of ethnic cuisines available to students have also grown. School foodservice operators have observed this trend and have noticed that the taste for ethnic cuisines becomes stronger as students mature.

School foodservice directors representing 45 school districts in 31 states were surveyed about the implications of serving ethnic foods in schools. Read this study to learn:

  • How schools are changing their menus to incorporate ethnic cuisines
  • How kids' preferences for ethnic food changes as they mature
  • Kids' favorite flavors in the cafeteria

2006 Research Highlights

Produce Market Dynamics on Campus

October 2006

When college and university foodservice directors consider produce, the important factors that come to mind are quality and availability. If asked, foodservice directors most likely could not specify their produce brand of choice, but they could tell you about the variety and size of the produce. Brand loyalty may not be a trait displayed amongst college and university foodservice directors, but they have recognized ways that a branded produce company could get their attention.

College and university foodservice operators were surveyed regarding the different aspects of their purchasing practices at their respective schools. This study explores:

  • How often operators receive deliveries and which types of produce companies they prefer
  • How a branded produce company can get foodservice operators' attention
  • Which value attributes are most important to operators when ordering fresh product

Elementary School Breakfast Survey

October 2006

Given all of the research documenting that kids perform better in school after eating breakfast, it is hard for one to imagine why any school would not offer breakfast to its students. While most schools do currently offer hot and/or cold breakfast options, the majority of them face resistance from principals as well as teachers. Though breakfast service may only be a matter of minutes, it is an essential part of a student's day in order to focus and learn in a classroom setting.

A study was conducted where 87 foodservice professionals responded to questions about breakfast service at school. This study shows:

  • What stands in the way of some schools offering breakfast service
  • The difference in time given for breakfast service
  • Kids' favorite breakfast foods-beyond sugar-filled cereals and doughnuts

Restaurant Eating Behavior

September 2006

Eating out at restaurants is a large part of American culture. It is not uncommon to see infants in high chairs sitting at tables with their families enjoying meals. Parents have control over what is being ordered, but the ultimate decision belongs to the kids. Although kids enjoy the food on kids' menus, they favor the choices on the adult menus.

A study of 350 kids ages 8-11 was conducted to understand their choices and behaviors when dining out. This study identifies:

  • The foods kids are craving in restaurants
  • How often kids eat out
  • How restaurant preferences change as kids mature

Youth Lifestyle Monitor™

September 2006

Kids may not know exactly what kinds of food make up a healthy and balanced diet, but they know what they like. The meals that score high with kids today are pizza, spaghetti, chicken, and sandwiches. Most kids do not do their own grocery shopping or prepare their own meals, but they do have an interest in what they eat and how it affects them. While taste and convenience play a role in kids' eating behavior, they are also concerned with the nutritional value and ingredients.

Y-Pulse conducted a survey of 400 kids in grades 3-5 to learn more about their eating habits. This study provides information such as:

  • The snack foods kids are craving
  • The amount of exposure kids have to ethnic foods
  • How important food labels are to kids and which nutritional elements stand out

Kids’ Eating Behavior at School

September 2006

As far as kids' thoughts on eating lunch at school are concerned, there are some days when sandwiches and frozen meals just do not cut it. Though most kids prefer to eat lunch at home or in a sit down restaurant on school days, the cafeteria does offer some popular choices. Regardless of whether it comes in a brown bag or on a tray, there are consistent trends that stick out when it comes to kids' lunches at school.

A survey was conducted to to learn more about how they choose what to eat at school. Read this study and discover:

  • What kids really want in their bag lunches
  • The items kids love and the items they would not miss
  • How bag lunches are being supplemented in school cafeterias

Kids’ Meals at Home

September 2006

It is no surprise that kids have a surplus of energy because unlike most adults, the majority of kids eat breakfast every day. Though their perceptions of what foods are healthy may be false, they tend to get closer to the recommended number of servings from each food group than teens and young adults. While favorite foods vary from kid to kid, breakfast time and after school snacks are the favored meal times.

More than 300 students from eight states were questioned about their eating habits at home. Read this study to find out:

  • How often and which kind of vegetables are consumed the most at home
  • Which foods kids are racing home from school to snack on
  • Which beverages kids prefer to drink at home

Convenience Retail That Captures Generation Next

July 2006

All college and university students have one thing in common-they are always on the move. When it comes to convenience stores, they need something that is easy to get to, that they can get in and out of quickly, and that carries what they want when they want it. While convenience is a major factor that drives college and university students' purchasing decisions, quality and taste are also thoughts that are at the top of these consumers' minds.

A survey was fielded to 171 college and university students which posed questions about convenience retail stores. This study explains:

  • How often students shop at convenience locations
  • The attributes that grab students' attention and bring them in
  • Which items students are purchasing the most-and how often

Young Consumer Perspectives on Retail and Foodservice Venues

June 2006

Having a comprehensive understanding of what influences young adults' purchases is what makes certain stores successful and their consumers loyal. Convenience foodservice venues offer unique products in a way that directly meets the needs of their target customers. While impulse drives the majority of young adults' purchases, convenience stores that are clean, safe, and open late greatly appeal to young consumers.

264 young adults ranging in ages from 18-25 were surveyed in regards to what affects their purchasing decisions the most. The qualitative feedback obtained has created a better understanding of their ideal convenience foodservice settings. Read this study to discover:

  • Which is more important in quick service restaurants: price or "super size" options
  • What motivates young adults to cook at home
  • When men and women ages 18-25 do the majority of their grocery shopping
  • The main purchase drivers for consumers in convenience retail settings

2005 Research Highlights

College Student Eating Habits Survey

October 2005

Most would assume that the college students' eating habits revolve around two things; price and convenience. While these two factors play a major role in meal and purchasing decisions, some report making decisions based on health factors. While nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is becoming increasingly more important to some students, food that is quick, cheap, and tastes good will always be a favorite. Some of today's college and university students are gaining awareness and responsibility for their eating behaviors while others are just gaining the "freshman 15."

A survey of 175 students ranging in ages from 18-25 was fielded to determine what influences them the most when deciding what to eat. This study reports:

  • The truth about college students' thoughts on exercise
  • The importance of price and how it affects students' choices on where they purchase
  • Healthier meal options students are choosing