If you’ve ever walked into the room of a Millennial or Generation Z individual, you’ll know that it is quite impossible to navigate your way through it without tripping over empty pizza boxes and half-eaten Chinese take-out containers. According to the Business Dictionary, the term ‘millennial’ refers to the group of people born between the 1980’s and 1990s. On the other hand, the Urban Dictionary defines the term ‘Generation Z’ as the generation that was born between 1995 and 2009. In other words, Generation Z is the generation born completely within the technological age.
These two generations are notorious for constantly eating out instead of consuming home-cooked meals. In 2016 alone, Gen Z-ers spent $78 billion at restaurants, and around 1/5th of their budget is spent on food, according to QSR Magazine. Furthermore, according to a study conducted by the Center for Generational Kinetics in collaboration with the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, 24 per cent of Generation Z and 21 per cent of Millennials order takeout around three to four times a week. Compared to these figures, only 17 per cent of Generation Xers and 6% of baby boomers order takeout during the same timings, according to The Huffington Post.
The aforementioned facts have proven to be true as students at UTM usually follow similar patterns as well. Mashal Khan, a fourth-year Digital Enterprise Management student, says, “I love spending the time to eat some good food. I mostly eat out though and I think it is because of my university schedule.” Khan eats out on a weekly basis and has no issues paying a large sum on takeout food. “Food is one thing that I can’t negotiate on. Whether it’d be homemade food or outside food. I spend around $10-$15 on food per week.” Maya Khan, a third-year Environmental Science student, possesses the same thoughts as well. “I also eat out on a weekly basis and spend around $10 on my meals.”
Along with it being a personal preference, both Mashal Khan and Maya Khan believe that time also plays a critical role in choosing to eat out or ordering takeout. Mashal Khan states, “Going to university four days a week has led me into the habit of eating out more since I spend most of my time in university. I usually don’t bring much food from home either so I have to buy something from campus and eat it.” Furthermore, Maya Khan claims that she has such a hectic schedule that she doesn’t have enough time to purchase and prepare the ingredients needed to create a proper home-cooked meal. “On the days I wake up early, I do, of course, make my own breakfast, but other than that, I rarely have time.” Winky Tsang, a fourth-year Linguistics major, also prefers to eat out because she is able to save the time needed to cook and clean up after herself.
At the end of the day, Millennial and Generation Z’s choice to eat out more often is a combination of both preference and need. Social media platforms have introduced a culture of eating as a form of socialization and so most people usually prefer to dine out so they are able to meet up with others in a vibrant and fun setting. But the presence of a busy schedule forces others to skip home-cooked meals and stick to grabbing ready-made sandwiches, bagels, or just the usual slice of pizza.