>> A new food report has been unveiled which identifies how age affects people’s taste in food.

The Age Cohort Report – published by Santa Maria Foodservice – is the first of its kind to establish the eating habits and tastes of four generations.

The research, which was conducted by Allegra Foodservice, provides insight into what flavours make consumers tick, how that changes with age and its effect on the eating-out market.

It explored the eating habits and flavour preferences of 2,000 consumers across four different generations:

  • Millennials, aged between 18-34. Millennials eat out three times as much as War Babies. And they’re eating everywhere… at home, at work, out and about. 21% see eating out as the new going out. They like to try something new, especially food that’s sweet, salty or sour. They are the most cost conscious with 47% more Millennials put off trying something new because of the cost.
  • Generation X aged between 35-49. Generation X has a relatively higher household income and like strong, savoury flavours. Over a quarter like to regularly try something new when they go out.
  • Baby Boomers aged between 50-64. Baby Boomers are a savoury stronghold. They love a medium/hot curry the most and are more adventurous with hot and spicy food than any other generation.
  • War Babies aged 65+. War Babies are comparatively less well-off, with a third having
    an income of less than £20,000. Almost half prefer to eat British cuisine when eating out
    and top choices are familiar cafés, pubs and independent restaurants.

A consistent trend is that as age increases, respondents become more aware of what they like and are less likely to choose new dishes on the menu or try new foods at home. 60% of War Babies said the menu description was the most important factor to encourage them to try new dishes, while a third of Millennials said social media recommendations and foodie interests drive their choice.

Eimear Owens, country sales manager – UK & Ireland, Santa Maria Foodservice commented: “Demographic changes will have a huge impact on the eating out market in the coming years. By 2025, 23% of the world’s population will be over 65. Our report shows that one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to menu and concept development. Operators will have to be more flexible, and depending on their brand profile, will need to understand how to exploit the growth in ‘seniors’ who prefer familiar foods they know and love and capitalise on younger diners who see eating out as the new going out.”

Visit www.santamariafoodservice.com/uk/insights for a copy of the report highlights.