If you’re a college student, it may surprise you to learn that thousands of very smart researchers toiling at hundreds of successful companies are wondering what you’re noshing these days. Why? They want to launch the “next big food thing” and get it in your mouth ASAP!
You even have a catchy title – Gen Z. Your generation was born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s. You have lived through the terror of September 11, 2001, dealt with well-meaning but over-protective parents and have adopted and dropped more social media apps than Mark Zuckerberg has billions. You’ve now moved on to higher education, and one of the most important questions is often: WHAT’S FOR DINNER?
A New Trend That Rocks – Fresh Food Delivery from Restaurants
One overriding food benefit that college students enjoy today over previous generations is restaurant food delivery services, such as MenuRunners. Where your grandparents and parents were pretty much limited to cold pizza (made from the wrong ingredients, usually delivered to the wrong address), Abilene and Amarillo college students can now get fresh, hot food from real restaurants such as Chili’s, Dickey’s , Firehouse Subs, Miguelo’s, and a ton more.
Needless to say, this is an amazing advancement of civilization as we know it. However, as the marketing researchers are fond of saying: “Let’s get back to the data, shall we?”
The Ten Top Food and Beverage Trends Among College Students
Every couple of years, the restaurant industry puts together “The Top 10 Trends of College Students,” and the most recent report had some surprising winners and losers.
#1 Haute is hot. French food is favored as an occasional meal choice for about 30 percent of college students. No, French fries don’t count. That would skew the number up to 100 percent!
#2 Spicing it up with Indian food is also popular. This would explain the explosion in the demand for bottled water.
#3 Yo Yo Yo. Street foods, such as soft tacos and Middle Eastern gyros, are gaining in popularity as food trucks roll onto campuses everywhere.
#4 Snack foods, such as nachos, are hot for lunch.
#5 Sports drinks sales are pumped up among college students.
#6 Almost 46 percent of students say they favor chicken for dinner.
#7 Fruit is now the most popular snack.
#8 BUT… fruit juice for breakfast is declining in popularity.
#9 Smoothies are also declining (Wah!? Wah!?).
#10 Breakfast burritos are as flat as a tortilla.
It’s All Relative to Where You Live
These stats are interesting, but most college students who live in the Abilene and Amarillo area will probably favor brisket from Dickie’s Bar-B-Que or Baby Back Ribs from Chili’s over Coq au vin or Tandoori chicken. Tastes differ, and as a wise man once said, “It’s all good!”