Eight Consumer Trends Taking Flight in 2017

  1. Good FoodEating with their eyes. The majority of Americans (60%) browse food photos on social media, and of those patrons, 75% have chosen a restaurant based on those photos they’ve seen.
  2. Carbs. Cholesterol. While the definition of better-for-you continues to shift, consumers are seeking out food low in these three attributes more than ever. Baby boomers are especially citing low-cholesterol foods as healthy more often—though they are the least likely to pay more for low-cholesterol claims.
  3. Boost in off-hour traffic. Brunch patronage has increased at both casual dining and upscale restaurants compared to two years ago, driven largely by younger consumers. These diners are also more likely to visit casual-dining spots for late-night meals after 10 p.m., often eating out with adult friends during these visits.
  4. Cool on cash-only. A cash-only policy is the No. 1 thing that would stop consumers from dining in a restaurant. Communal tables and no-substitution policies tied for second, with a third of patrons considering them deal breakers.
  5. Discounts could drive catering. Two-fifths of consumers say they would order catered meals more often if restaurants offered specials and other discounts. In particular, 43% of both women and consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 say discount initiatives would boost their catering order habits.
  6. Lunchtime slowdown. Contrary to service time guarantees like Buffalo Wild Wings’ promise of lunch in 15 minutes, the importance diners place on the speed of weekday lunch service has decreased since 2014, slipping 7%. Today’s customers may be OK with waiting longer if that means fresher, higher-quality food on the other end.
  7. Add the snacks. Rising snack consumption will likely reshape how consumers view midday meals, as diners are replacing lunch with snacks about two days a week. In addition, 30% of consumers say they expect restaurants to provide lunch in small snack like sizes such as mini or half portions
  8. Ladies Love Loyalty. More women than men currently participate in restaurant loyalty programs, and slightly more women also say that loyalty programs are very likely to influence them to visit a certain restaurant. They value exclusive offers, too, like first tastes and private events.

Written by Sima Patel–Market Insights Analysist Butterball Farms, Inc.

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