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Consumer Trends

Consumer trends, insights and preferences

Consumer Trends

The rewards of engaging in corporate social responsibility

Every business, regardless of size, should acknowledge its responsibility to the community as a whole. By doing so, you also attract the more socially conscious customer. According to American Express Market Brief, restaurant patrons are most concerned about working conditions and wages for employees and environmental issues.

Consumer Trends

Restaurant traffic to increase at a slower rate than U.S. population over the next decade

Although the industry is slowly showing improvements after being hard hit by the recession, there remains cause for concern. According to NPD, a leading market research company, restaurants are expected to grow by only 1 percent a year while the country’s population will grow by 1.1 percent per year over the next decade.

As a result of soft sales, lower traffic levels and a deteriorating outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity remained essentially flat in July.

Mobile food trucks have attained a permanent place in the culinary landscape. The August 2010 American Express MarketBriefing reports that more and more consumers are hitting the streets to buy meals on wheels from these chef-driven vehicles.

Let’s take a look at what’s coming down the pike and promises to alter the landscape of the industry—for better and worse.

The NPD Group, a leading market research company, found in its recent National Eating Trends survey that members of the millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, have significantly decreased their rate of dining out. This age group also tends to base their food choices on impulse, price and time. Here are other findings from the NPD report.

According to The NPD Group’s Spring 2010 ReCount census, the number of U.S. restaurant units fell by -1%, or by 5,204 units this year compared to spring 2009. Independent restaurant closings contributed the most to this number, while chain restaurants remained fairly stable. Greg Starzynski, director of product development-foodservice at NPD, attributes the decline to the loss of consumer traffic over the last year.

Technomic has revised its initial projections for alcohol sold away from home to a growth of 1.1 percent, up from a decline of 2.5 percent forecasted at the end of 2009.

The Food Channel, in association with Mintel International, CultureWaves and the International Food Futurists, has released their top ten snack trends for the year.

The financial health of the nation’s restaurant industry is improving, according to statistics from the StarChefs.com Salary Survey. Executive chefs made 6.1 percent more in 2009 compared to 2008. And pastry chefs enjoyed a pay increase of 5.7 percent in the same time period.