Nearly a third of Americans have “menu anxiety” when ordering food from a restaurant, according to research conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Avocado Green Mattress. The survey found younger generations were more likely to have anxiety while ordering — 41% of Gen Z and millennials (those aged 18 to 43 for the purposes of this poll) compared with only 15% of Gen X and baby boomers (aged 44 to 77).
Younger generations were also more likely to let others order first so they could see what they were getting — 47% vs. 30%. Additionally, nearly a quarter (24%) of Gen Z and millennials “always” check out the menu online in advance, compared to 15% of Gen X and baby boomers.
Overall, respondent said the most important factors when ordering food included:
Taste — 71%.
Cost — 57%.
Time needed for the food to be prepared 22%.
How messy the meal would be — 16%.
Foods’ environmental impact — 15%.
Looking deeper, 20% of Gen Z and millennials selected environmental impact as an important factor compared to 7% of Gen X and baby boomers. Younger generations were also more aware of what that environmental impact is, the survey found. When ordering from a restaurant, 62% said they’re “very” or “somewhat” aware of the environmental impact of their meal, compared with 42% of Gen X and baby boomer respondents.
“Our individual choices matter,” said Jessica Hann, Avocado Green’s senior vice president of brand marketing and sustainability. “From how we eat to how we sleep, our collective decisions are inextricably linked to the health of our communities.”
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The survey also found that younger generations would be more likely to order vegan and vegetarian options. For example, if vegan is used as a label on the menu, 39% of younger generations would be more likely to order the food, compared with 15% of older generations. If food were labeled as vegetarian, 34% of Gen Z and millennials would be more likely to order the item, compared to 17% of Gen X and baby boomers, the survey found.