This is the 6th insights digest from Segmanta’s brand new study, The Ultimate Food Survey 2020. We surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. consumers to understand their opinions surrounding their eating habits, lifestyles, fast food consumption, and favorite fast food restaurants, etc. 


Following our previous blog post about Gen Z and Millennials’ fast food preferences and eating habits, this article will zoom in on the lifestyles and brand preferences of “Picky Eaters”, “Passionate Foodies”, and “Adventurous Eaters”. 


Subway, Pizza Hut, and KFC Score Picky Eaters

Amongst the people who have specific standards for food, 68% of the Picky Eaters said Subway is their favorite sandwich restaurant while 55% chose KFC as their go-to fried chicken brand. Additionally, Picky Eaters are 21% more likely to prefer Pizza Hut, compared to the overall respondents. 

Because of the difficulty to satisfy picky customers’ appetite, fast food chains are constantly innovating menu ideas, customizing meal combos, and revamping the brand image to keep up with the fast-changing tastes. 

In October, KFC introduced a new signature sauce based on the consumer data collected from the delivery platform DoorDash, indicating that sauce is a “must-have” for fried chicken dishes. 31% of the respondents from our study also agreed. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut targeted the holiday season with their new Triple Treat Box, offering a family meal with pizza, breadsticks, and cinnamon rolls. Pizza Hut’s new move aims to alleviate holiday cooking burdens and to offer quality order-in meals, with a wide variety of menu items, for picky customers to choose from. As for Subway, the sandwich giant acquired Chef Paul Fabre’s service in order to upgrade the food quality and experiment with more unique flavors. 


Passionate “Foodies” Are All About That Taste

When it comes to lifestyle, we were not surprised to see that 75% of the Passionate Foodies love cooking at home or eating out, 33% more likely compared to other groups of fast food lovers. Given more time at home, Passionate Foodies experimented with new recipes and dishes by following online tutorials and teaching their children how to cook, etc. In our previous research Life During COVID-19, 74% of the U.S. respondents enjoyed cooking or baking at home during the quarantine.

According to our survey results, 38% of the Passionate Foodies said they are attracted to fast food because of the pleasant taste. 26% of them had increased fast food consumption during the pandemic period. It is definitely a big challenge for fast food chains, such as McDonald’s, to ensure a unique and outstanding taste of their signature products. Thus, a tremendous amount of flavor-testing and food science goes into the recipes. McDonald’s famous french friends win over the foodie customers’ sensitive tastebuds by the meaty aroma, the special seasoning, the crunchy texture, and the consistent quality. During the COVID-19 outbreak, retaining food quality and innovating flavors are essential to keep the customers engaged. 

Family Time Is Adventure Time

We discovered that Adventurous Eaters are keen on socializing with friends and family (63%) in their spare time. With the restriction of in-restaurant dining in place this year, many U.S. families chose to stay home and order takeout instead of cooking, especially on holidays since traveling was also limited. Adventurous Eaters wouldn’t miss the chance to make the family time full of fun and flavors.

As a result, many fast food restaurants are offering timely deals and promotions for family meals. World cuisine fast food chain Panda Express introduced a special meal package for families at a discounted price (starting from $20). Notably, Panda Express outperformed other fast food brands when it comes to properly implementing safety instructions following the COVID-19 outbreak, positioning themselves as a responsible, rule-following restaurant chain. Creating value for customers (especially families) and enforcing protection for the customers is critical to sustainably keep a fast food brand afloat and boost brand reputation during unusual times like this. 

Want to find your own insights?

The connection between personalities and tastes will be an ongoing research subject for fast food brands as consumers rapidly shift their mindsets, creating new demands, and setting fresh food trends. Psychographic consumer data plays a more and more important role in marketing research. As an expert in declarative consumer research, Segmanta continues to explore the power of personality, how it triggers new consumer behaviors, and how it motivates marketers to brainstorm innovative ideas.