How Often Do You Eat Out?

Published June 1, 2018 at 5:33 pm


When do you step out for a bite?

Probably lunch or dinner, or perhaps you pop out for weekend brunch, a small snack or in the wee hours, when you’ve just got out of a concert or a bar.

Turns out, more and more young Canadians are doing the same, eating out during non-traditional hours.

While people still dine out for traditional meals like lunch (60 per cent) and dinner (77 per cent) more often, Canada’s younger crowd goes out more non-traditional meals.

New research from Mintel, a market intelligence agency, reveals that diners aged 18-24 are the most likely to say they dine out for a late-night meal (35 per cent vs 16 per cent overall), a snack (30 per cent vs 19 per cent overall) and for brunch (22 per cent vs 18 per cent overall).

But eating out often for the younger crowd can result in financial strain. They may be the most frequent crowd to dine out, but 66 per cent say that they dine out at least once a week and its effects are heavy on the mind and the wallet.

Those between the ages 18-34 are twice as likely to say that eating out or ordering in has an impact on their financial goals (34 per cent vs 17 per cent) and a similar percentage feels guilty about how often they eat out (36 per cent vs 17 per cent).

But this still isn’t putting a stop on this age-group eating out. They usually act on impulse to satisfy a craving (55 per cent vs 44 per cent).

“Young Canadians are the driving force behind dining out for non-traditional meal occasions such as late-night meals and snacking, due in part to a need for convenience and as the result of young consumers turning to snacking as a ‘stand-in’ for traditional meals. This indicates the increasing importance for restaurants to promote non-traditional eating occasions to ensure relevance with younger audiences, especially as snacking represents a great opportunity to connect with these consumers,” said Carol Wong-Li, senior lifestyle and leisure analyst at Mintel.

Millennials are usually torn between wanting to have a good time and spending money. That’s how going out for a small bite or snack is more popular, as it turns out to be more cost-efficient.

As the economy grows stronger, eating out is on the rise. Fifty-four per cent of Canadians say they eat out once a week, compared to 42 per cent in 2016.

And dining out is being seen more as an indulgence. Most diners eat out either as a treat to themselves (58 per cent) or a reward (39 per cent).

But Quebec, of course, works a bit differently. And for 42 per cent of Quebecers the social aspect of eating out is important and for 38 per cent it adds value to their life.

Overall, across Canada, eating out is mostly to escape the norm. Forty-four per cent eat out to try something they wouldn’t or can’t cook at home. And, 26 per cent eat out to try new restaurants.

There’s not much difference between men and women eating out.

Sixty-five per cent females between the age 18 to 34 eat out as often as men (67 per cent).

And younger women show a greater interest in dining at different locations.

In fact, young Canadian women are more likely than men the same age to say they have dined out at or ordered food from coffee shops (77 per cent of women aged 18-24 vs 60 per cent of men aged 18-24), food courts/halls (49 per cent vs 35 per cent), smoothie/juice shops (30 per cent vs 20 per cent) and bakeries (30 per cent vs 22 per cent).

It’s possible that for millennials, cravings rise from social media and the need to do everything trendy. After all, don’t we all eat with our eyes more?

Instagram is proof. 

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