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Consumer Trends

After two years of decline, lunch spending set to rebound

After a 4% decline in 2009 and another 3% decline in 2010, lunch daypart sales are set to rebound 2% to $114 billion in 2011. Unemployment and the economic slump caused budget-conscious consumers to cut back on lunch spending in restaurants, but creative marketing and unique offers are spurring them to come back. Fast-food operators with lunch menus in the “extremely affordable” category have sustained the industry and helped it bounce back during the recession.

  • Respondents to Packaged Facts’ proprietary survey reveal that interest in lunchtime meals priced under $5 and under $10 is stable across household income brackets. This suggests that price sensitivity exists among a large segment of diners regardless of their personal wages.
  • Survey respondents aged 18-24 are 60% more likely to have lunch at a restaurant that offers meals under $3
  • Limited time $1 lunch deals continue to be a draw in fast-food establishments
  • Interest in ingredients is just as important as price, as customers seek foods offering positive health benefits (such as fiber and whole grains) and menu items featuring more vegetables or fruit
  • Both both men and women are eating smaller portions that are both cost- and calorie-conscious

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