A new study from Y-Pulse, Chicago, examined young consumers' interest in grab-and-go dining.

Using insights drawn from the Kids Dining Study and the School Meal Innovation Lab, this study presented 900 K-12 consumers with 10 new foodservice menu concepts to explore Gen Z's complex food culture and dining behaviors at and away from home.

The study reveals that the menu items among kids' favorites were also items ideal for grab-and-go dining. For example, 77% of consumers ages 8-18 said they either liked or loved the Banana Berry Smoothie, described as a creamy smoothie made with bananas, berries, yogurt and milk, topped with fresh fruit and homemade granola. Meanwhile, 64% of consumers ages 8-18 said they either liked or loved the Overnight Oatmeal, described as creamy and hearty overnight oats in milk, layered with fresh fruit and yogurt. And, 61% of consumers ages 8-18 said they either liked or loved the Tex-Mex Breakfast Bowl, described as a bowl of eggs, cheese and beans served on top of roasted potatoes, peppers and onions, with salsa on the side.

"With a seemingly endless stream of sources competing for their attention, Gen Z consumers are busier than ever, and they need convenient, flexible food choices that can accommodate their schedules," says Sharon Olson, executive director of Y-Pulse. "Snacks and meals that can be eaten on the go are a necessity for today's young consumers, as they work to nourish their growing minds and bodies."

What’s more is, all of the top-scoring concepts are also suitable for grab-and-go breakfast service. While the study finds that kids of all ages have interest in getting their morning fuel on the go, the popularity of grab-and-go breakfast rises significantly as kids age and gain the autonomy to make their own dining decisions. For instance, 72% of 18-year-old consumers surveyed say that when it comes to breakfast, they like to grab something they can eat on their way, compared to 66% of 14-year-old consumers and 46% of 8-year-old consumers.

Grab-and-go menu concepts offer young consumers benefits across other dayparts too. Like, 67% of consumers ages 8-18 say that their lunch period is short and that they don't have enough time to eat. And, 91% of consumers ages 8-18 say that they like restaurants where they can get their food quickly.