Everything you need to know about the preferences of the generations

In our previous, we wrote about the importance of considering all four generations in the workplace. But how is this done on a practical level, when Compass Group serves food to over 100,000 guests a day? Read this article and get a unique insight into Compass Group’s knowledge of generation-specific food solutions and how they are applied in practice.

Generational experts with a finger on the pulse

To stay ahead and on top Compass Group’s food experts from around the world meet up as often as possible to discuss mega-trends, global trends and more specific and individual trends. At the same time, local guest surveys are regularly conducted. This gives Compass Group an accurate insight into the specific needs of the individual staff or campus restaurant.

Naturally, you cannot lump everybody together, but Compass Group has gathered their most important knowledge about each generation – with food in mind of course – and here are their insights:

Baby Boomers – the traditional (1945-60): There is a focus on the traditional and recognisable. Often the Baby Boomers, as they are also called, eat three main meals a day: breakfast, lunch and a warm traditional meal for dinner (meat and potatoes). They will prefer healthy and protein rich foods, which strengthens their health. However, it is not all gravy and potatoes as this generation typically also goes for global food tasted abroad.

Generation X – personal customized (1961-80): For this generation, it is all about personalised food – they put their own stamp on the experience. An example of this could be their preference for adjusting the taste experience by adding extra spices like different salsas or nuts. Alternatively, it could also be the café or the juice bar where this generation are likely to adjust their coffee with a certain type of milk or want extra ginger added to their juice.

Generation Y – snacking (1981-95): This generation, also called millinials, love to snack at all times of the day. They are not very tradition-bound which means they will eat what they feel like, whether it is a burrito for breakfast or cornflakes for dinner. They are brand loyal and often identify themselves with concepts that they feel fit their own personal values.

Generation Z – flexitarians (1996-2010): This, the youngest generation, is often described as being flexitarians because they are fond of vegetarian or vegan dishes (meat-free days). This does not mean that they do not eat meat at all. But they know what is good for them and mainly eat meat or fish when it is ethically produced. Sustainability and a holistic mindset is very high on their agenda. They are great at adapting themselves to changes and are very globally minded. Also, called digital natives, this generation are often inspired by food on social media.

From knowledge to practice

All this knowledge and expertise is transformed into action on a daily basis, when Compass Group serves food to more than a 100,000 guests all over Denmark. This is one of the reasons why their concept Friends of Food, which is based on trends and generations, has been so popular. The concept regularly switches between themes likes of Grandma’s Kitchen, which serves solid nostalgic dishes, VEG Revolution, which is focused on plant based proteins, and Global Kitchen, which is based on an authentic world kitchen. Complimentary to this, Compass Group has also introduced food courts with front cooking, many options for snacking and new convenience options available after closing time. These initiatives have all been embraced by the generations.