Smaller Meal Options

Trends are changing when it comes to meal size. Many customers now prefer smaller sized meals in order to eat healthier.

Customers are growing more aware of the importance of managing portion size, market research company NPD Group, revealed in its latest report titled, “Healthy Eating Strategies by Generation,” according to Vending MarketWatch.

NPD listed 30 different healthy eating and lifestyle dimensions to determine which ones consumers of various generations would associate most with healthy eating. Adult consumers ranked the to five characteristics of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles consistently as: exercise regularly, eat well balanced meals, eat all things in moderation, limit and avoid foods with saturated fat or cholesterol or trans fat, drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

One common healthy eating trend listed among many of the tested age groups was eating smaller portions. This ranked seventh among Generation X consumers, ages 35 to 45; eighth among Generation Y, ages 21 to 34; and 12th among younger boomers, ages 46 to 54. However, older age groups over the age of 55 ranked eating smaller portions as lower.

This survey of about 5,000 adults indicated that 43% of individuals in the group agreed that they ate smaller portion meals most of the time the past year. Additionally, 57% said they aspired to eat smaller portions in the coming year, which suggests that this eating strategy will become a trend in the future.  

C-store operators and restaurant owners should consider this information when stocking food items on their shelves, or while planning their menus. Many Americans want to eat more healthfully in future years, so offering smaller portioned meal sizes to customers will improve business.

“Based on the interest in smaller portions among the younger age groups and the size of these age groups, portion control is an area of opportunity for food manufacturers,” said Dori Hickey, director, product management at NPD and author of the report. “As they move through their life, these generations may continue the healthy eating behaviors they adopted in their younger years, making portion-control a long-term opportunity.”    

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