High protein packs a punch
Out of several nutrition-based descriptors such as low-calorie and low-carb, high-protein demonstrated the most appeal among student diners. Sixty-seven percent of students surveyed said they’d be more likely to purchase offerings that are high in protein, Technomic says, and 40% said they’d be game to pay more for them.
Freshness may play a major role in students’ purchasing decisions: Seventy-eight percent said they’d be more likely to buy items described as fresh, a higher ratio than those who said they’re more likely to buy scratch-made dishes (71%) or organic ones (63%). Attributes such as gluten-free and GMO-free could be falling out of favor among younger diners—Technomic notes that the terms appear to have more sway among older students.
Menu items’ social and environmental impact are playing a bigger role as students put their dollars where their values are. Thirty-nine percent of students say they’d be willing to pay more for items that are socially responsible, according to Technomic, while 38% say the same of items that are locally sourced or sustainable.