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US Challenger Brands Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Family Dining Trends market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Hyper-convenient packaged kids’ meal solutions pose competitive threat to dining out
  • Half of parents report increased preparation of food at home for their family
  • Kids’ meals remain unhealthy, and parents aren’t thrilled

Covered in this report

In this report, Mintel explores the behaviors and preferences of families and their habits when eating away from home. The information available in this report will help readers better understand the needs and nuances of different families

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Jill Failla, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Parents are among the heaviest users of restaurants and off-premise restaurant business due to the convenience, speed and quality family time they provide, and this is especially true for fast food restaurants. Fast food continues to win family dining business with its aforementioned speed and convenience, affordable prices, kid-friendly amenities such as toys and entertainment, and bundled kids’ meals. However, restaurants still haven’t made much headway making kids’ meals healthier, and parents aren’t pleased. Parents are ready to see more sophisticated, healthy and internationally inspired kids’ menu options Jill Failla
Foodservice Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • What parents want and why
          • The issues
            • Hyper-convenient packaged kids’ meal solutions pose competitive threat to dining out
              • Figure 1: Year-over-year changes in family dining behavior, November 2019
            • Half of parents report increased preparation of food at home for their family
              • Figure 2: Year-over-year changes in family dining behavior, November 2019
            • Kids’ meals remain unhealthy, and parents aren’t thrilled
              • Figure 3: Attitudes toward healthy menu items, December 2018
            • The opportunities
              • Parents rely most on fast food restaurants for prepared food for their families
                • Figure 4: Prepared food purchase locations, November 2019
              • International kids’ menu items will appeal to influential parental demographics
                • Figure 5: Innovative family dining concepts, November 2019
              • Growing off-premise business drives opportunity for family meals
                • Figure 6: Year-over-year changes in family dining behavior, November 2019
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Adventurous eaters have rising influence
                • Kid-friendly packaged goods and meal kits quickly emerge
                  • Lawmakers restrict kids’ meal options
                  • Market Perspective

                    • CPG and meal kits increasingly cater to convenience-oriented Millennial parents
                      • Figure 7: New Savory Meatball kids’ meal from Yumble
                      • Figure 8: New Kidfresh Waffles with hidden butternut squash
                    • Away-from-home spend outpaces at-home spend
                      • Figure 9: Share of food expenditures for in-home food vs dining out, 2013-18
                  • Market Factors

                    • The majority of parents with kids under 18 are now Millennials
                      • Figure 10: Households with own children under age 18, by age of householder, 2018
                      • Figure 11: Parental status by generation, November 2019
                    • Millennials are biggest international food consumers
                      • Figure 12: Frequent international food eaters, by generation, November 2018
                    • Families are increasingly diverse
                      • Figure 13: Population by race and Hispanic origin, 2014-24
                    • Some states, cities mandate kids’ meal nutrition changes
                    • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                      • Entertain the family
                        • Kids options are getting more sophisticated
                          • But healthfulness at top chains still lags
                          • What’s Working?

                            • Marketing to families
                                • Figure 14: McDonald’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 happy meal toys and McPlay games promoted on abcya.com, June 2019
                              • What’s next?
                                • Figure 15: YouTube influencer Ryan of Ryan ToysReview channel helps relaunch Hardee’s kids’ meals, toys
                              • Off-premise family meal deals
                                • Figure 16: Bertucci’s Bundles ad, September 2019
                              • Make it pint-sized
                              • What’s Struggling?

                                • Healthy kids’ options at top restaurant chains
                                  • Figure 17: Attitudes toward healthy menu items, December 2018
                                  • Figure 18: McDonald’s Facebook ad, November 2019
                              • What’s Next?

                                • Kid-themed restaurant pop-ups
                                  • Figure 19: Sesame Street restaurant pop-up in Singapore, September 2019
                                • International kids’ menu items
                                  • Goodbye, plastic toys
                                    • Mobile order-ahead and payment for full-service dine-in
                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                      • Parents rely heavily on fast food to feed the family
                                        • Parents make the dining decision, kids make the ordering decision
                                          • Top kids’ menu items remain burgers, breaded chicken
                                          • Prepared Food Purchase Locations

                                            • Parents rely heavily on LSRs to feed their family
                                              • Figure 20: Prepared food purchase locations, by parents and general population, November 2019
                                            • More moms than dads use retail prepared foods for family meal solutions
                                              • Figure 21: Prepared food purchase locations, by gender, November 2019
                                            • Young parents source prepared foods for their family from a wider variety of locations
                                              • Figure 22: Prepared food purchase locations, by age, November 2019
                                            • Asian parents drive family prepared foods purchases from club stores, fine dining
                                              • Figure 23: Prepared food purchase locations, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2019
                                          • Year-Over-Year Changes in Family Dining Behavior

                                            • Kid-friendly meal kits and packaged foods are growing threat to restaurants
                                              • Figure 24: Year-over-year changes in family dining behavior, November 2019
                                            • Dads drive demand for convenient prepared family meal solutions
                                              • Figure 25: Year-over-year changes in family dining behavior, by gender, November 2019
                                            • Young parents also drive growth of convenient prepared family meals
                                              • Figure 26: Year-over-year changes in family dining behavior, by age, November 2019
                                            • Higher-income parents drive growth of restaurant usage, healthy kids’ options
                                              • Figure 27: Year-over-year changes in family dining behavior, by income, November 2019
                                          • Restaurant Visitation Motivators for Family Dining

                                            • Menu variety is top of mind for family dining occasions
                                              • Figure 28: Restaurant visitation motivators for family dining – NET any rank, November 2019
                                            • Young parents prioritize kid-friendly options over menu variety and cuisine type
                                              • Figure 29: Restaurant visitation motivators for family dining – NET any rank, by age, November 2019
                                            • Black parents overindex in preference for atmosphere, family meal deals
                                              • Figure 30: Restaurant visitation motivators for family dining – NET any rank, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2019
                                          • Kids’ Menu Item Consumption

                                            • Burgers are the most popular kids’ menu item
                                              • Figure 31: Kids’ menu item consumption, November 2019
                                            • Young parents’ kids are most likely to order traditional kids’ menu items
                                              • Figure 32: Kids’ menu item consumption, by parent age, November 2019
                                            • Asian and Hispanic parents’ children drive kids’ breakfast item purchases
                                              • Figure 33: Kids’ menu item consumption, by parent race and Hispanic origin, November 2019
                                          • Kids’ Beverage Item Consumption

                                            • Despite sugar backlash, juice remains the most popular kids’ beverage option
                                              • Figure 34: Kids’ beverage item consumption, November 2019
                                            • Higher-income parents’ kids overindex in milk, water orders from kids’ menus
                                              • Figure 35: Kids’ beverage item consumption, by parent household income, November 2019
                                          • Family Dining Behaviors

                                            • Most families decide where to dine as a group
                                              • Figure 36: Family dining behaviors, November 2019
                                            • Young parents tend to choose the food their child eats when dining out, since their children are younger
                                              • Figure 37: Family dining behaviors, by age, November 2019
                                            • Black families are most likely to primarily dine out for special occasions
                                              • Figure 38: Family dining behaviors, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2019
                                            • Parents are highly influential for the family dining decision
                                              • Figure 39: Family dining decision making, November 2019
                                          • Innovative Family Dining Concepts

                                            • Restaurants can appeal to kids with mobile app games
                                              • Figure 40: Innovative family dining concepts, November 2019
                                            • Millennial parents drive interest in international kids’ options
                                              • Figure 41: Innovative family dining concepts, by age, November 2019
                                            • Black parents drive interest in seafood options on kids’ menus
                                              • Figure 42: Innovative family dining concepts, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2019
                                            • The majority of parents find smaller portioned adult entrées for kids and kid-friendly pop-ups appealing
                                              • Figure 43: Innovative family dining concepts, by TURF analysis, November 2019
                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                            • Data sources
                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                • Direct marketing creative
                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                      • Terms
                                                      • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                          • Figure 44: Percent of children who are obese, by age, 2015-16
                                                          • Figure 45: Age of child living in the household, by parents’ age, November 2019
                                                          • Figure 46: Race and Hispanic origin, by household income, November 2019
                                                        • TURF Analysis Methodology

                                                        This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

                                                        • Market

                                                          Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

                                                        • Consumer

                                                          Mintel's proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

                                                        • Brand/Company

                                                          Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

                                                        • Data

                                                          Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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