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The restaurant supper occasion has lost over 650 million consumer visits since 2006, but will gain about 795 million visits over the next decade, according to The NPD Group’s recent “A Look Into the Future of Foodservice” report, which forecasts a 4 percent growth in restaurant supper visits through 2022.
Restaurant supper visits have steadily declined since 2006, while supper meals eaten in-home have steadily increased. Per capita annual supper meals eaten in-home increased from 235 in 2006 to 250 in 2012, according to NPD’s “National Eating Trends,” which continually tracks all aspects of how U.S. consumers eat. Conversely, per capita supper meals eaten away from home declined from 67 in 2006 to 61 in 2012, according to NPD’s “CREST,” which tracks daily how U.S. consumers use restaurants.
While multiple factors contributed to the weakened state of the supper occasion, one of the largest influences is the impact that the economy has had on younger adult consumers, ages 18-49. Younger adults historically have been heaviest users of restaurants for supper. As a result of these cutbacks, there has been a shift of supper traffic dependence to older consumers who historically have been less frequent users of restaurants for supper. It’s this increase in restaurant supper visits among older adults that has contributed the most to the growth forecast in supper traffic over the next 10 years.
“While supper is forecast to fare better than it has over the past several years, foodservice marketers will need to create a strong value proposition to entice U.S. consumers out of their homes,” said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst. “During this very challenging time, consumers have become even more accustomed to eating supper at home. Foodservice marketers need to understand how food retailers and manufacturers are meeting consumers’ needs, as prepared foods purchased at grocery stores provide an easy and generally less expensive alternative to restaurants.”
Chicago-based NPD Group provides comprehensive consumer and retail information to more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers and service companies to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national and local market levels.