We Gen Xers have been forgotten for a long time. As a generation, we’re smaller than both the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. That means we’re frequently neglected by the people who design new technologies, make TV shows and movies, and develop new food products.
But new research suggests that this might be about to change. Last year, the Department of Labor analyzed spending habits by generation and found that Generation X spends the most per household. Crucially for the food industry, Gen X spends more per household than any other generation on food — both food at home and eating out.
The importance of this generation to the food industry is underscored by the newest NPD Group foodservice study showing that Gen X now represent roughly 23% of all restaurant visits, about the same percentage as Baby Boomers and Millennials. This result is significant because restaurant sales and traffic have been dropping steadily of late, and restaurants are looking for ways to reverse that trend. Gen X might be the key to that reversal.
NPD Group notes in their press release that Gen Xers “enjoy dining out and because they are more likely to have dual income have the money to do it. They place high importance on food quality, the ability to customize, and craving satisfaction.”
Analyst Bonnie Riggs adds: “In a competitive environment it’s important for restaurant operators to understand how to gain the attention of important consumer groups. With a better understanding of what matters most to key generational groups, marketers can address the unique needs/behaviors of these consumers and create strategies to enhance engagement and increase sales by building loyalty among those groups most important to their business.”
As a member of the “middle child generation,” I look forward to marketers working harder to address my unique needs and behaviors.