Treat not trouble: Speedy snacks are all the rage

Treat not trouble: Speedy snacks are all the rage

New study: Eating and drinking on-the-go is part of many Europeans’ lifestyle and is not as stereotypical as you may think.

A latte macchiato to go or a filled bread roll to eat quickly on the road: Only for stressed urbanites in business suits? Wrong! A recent study by the professorship for Convenience & Marketing at the European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel shows that Europeans generally like on-the-go consumption. And it’s not factors such as time pressure and stress that cause people to reach for chocolate and co. when on-the-go. The more important influencing factor is the pleasure and enjoyment people get from eating and drinking on the move! “Many people enjoy drinking a coffee or eating a sandwich when they’re out and about,” explains the holder of the professorship, Prof. Dr. Sabine Möller. “For them, eating and drinking on-the-go is simply part of their modern lifestyle.” A total of more than 2,300 consumers from Germany, the Netherlands and Romania took part in the study. First and foremost, scientists wanted to answer three main questions: Who eats and drinks on-the-go? Where do they eat and drink on-the-go? Why do they eat and drink on-the-go? The study systematically examines the most common assumptions about on-the-go consumption. The most important conclusion is that there is no “typical” convenience consumer. Eating and drinking on-the-go has many guises and is permanently established in all areas of society. Prof. Sabine Möller, holder of the professorship for Convenience & Marketing, says: “Young women, families with children and older couples – almost all age and population groups like to buy something to eat or drink on-the-go.”  

Men like it faster, women healthier

It is not typically just men who like to have a snack when out and about. Statistically speaking, men and women enjoy it to an equal degree. Around 60 percent say they regularly eat or drink on–the-go. However, some minor differences are apparent between men and women. “Women tend to pay more attention to the price and to healthy ingredients than men,” says Sabine Möller, summarising the different gender preferences. 55.1 percent of women say that they pay attention to eating healthily when snacking on-the-go. Only 41.2 percent of men say the same. This explains the difference in preferences when choosing the place of purchase: Men prefer to buy snacks in petrol station shops, snack bars or fast food restaurants, while women usually prefer supermarkets or bakeries and butcher’s shops.  

Not just for the young

The study also dispenses with another widespread prejudice: “It’s not just young people who like to eat and drink on-the-go,” says Sabine Möller. “More than half of those over 60, for example, like to treat themselves to a small snack while out and about.” However, the older population places a high value on style – fast food restaurants are more popular amongst the under-30s. However, the majority in all age groups find eating and drinking on-the-go useful and get an equal amount of pleasure and enjoyment out of it.  

Love and marriage: The wedding ring makes the difference

The study of consumption habits on the basis of marital status revealed surprising results. The biggest fans of convenience food aren’t single people but rather young, unmarried couples: 75.7 percent of them enjoy on-the-go consumption, which they say is simply a part of their lifestyle. They are on-the-go a lot, often in a rush and seldom plan their meals. For these young couples, convenience food therefore primarily means fun and an increase in flexibility. Single people who live together with several other people, on the other hand, are least likely to eat and drink on-the-go and are also the least appreciative of the goods available. However, when a wedding ring comes into play, the attitude towards on-the-go consumption changes. As opposed to unmarried couples, married couples are in comparison adverse to eating and drinking on-the-go, whereby it could not be determined whether this was due to the signature on the marriage certificate or the age of those who were married, which was higher on average. Married couples use the opportunities for snacking on-the-go less often and 90 percent of them find that cooking at home is an important part of their own culture.  

Those in the countryside prefer to eat at home – don’t they?

A popular assumption is that on-the-go consumption is typical for those living in cities. Who doesn’t immediately think of a young man on his way to the office, with laptop in one hand, coffee-to-go in the other? However, the study reveals that opportunities for on-the-go consumption are not just used and enjoyed by urbanites. On the contrary, the more rural the home of the consumers, the higher they value the opportunity to get a snack or drink when out and about. The fact that snacking on-the-go is less appreciated by those living in cities is also apparent in the fact that one in two people (53.8%) would like a wider range of available goods – while in rural areas, the majority are happy with the options available.  

Commuters depend on opportunities for snacking on-the-go

Blackberry in hand, mobile phone to the ear and always on the way to the next important meeting. And no time to eat! Commuters are classic snackers when on the road. Two thirds of respondents from this group said they had a high to very high tendency to snack on-the-go. However, it is particularly interesting here to note that commuters with full-time employment may generally have a high tendency towards convenience foods, but they enjoy it less in comparison to consumers who commute only several days a week. For part-time commuters, on-the-go consumption tends to still be something rather special and therefore more interesting.  

First Professorship for Convenience & Marketing

Sponsored by Lekkerland, the professorship at the European Business School (EBS) in Oestrich-Winkel is the first professorship for Convenience & Marketing in the world and is held by marketing expert Prof. Dr. Sabine Möller. Her main tasks include the scientific research of developments and trends in the area of convenience. The Convenience Competence Center (CCC) acts as an interface between research and practice and is the publisher of the study.  

The Lekkerland Group at a glance

Lekkerland supplies 140,000 petrol station shops, kiosks, convenience stores, fast food chains, specialist tobacco goods shops, beverage markets, department stores, food markets, bakeries and canteens in twelve European countries with a full range of confectionery, drinks, snacks, convenience ranges, ice cream, frozen goods, fresh products, tobacco goods, telephone cards and non-food products. In 2007, the company had a turnover of €11.2 billion. Press photos on the convenience study are available for download in our media centre.