A new study by researchers from the NPD Group shows that young adults are chowing down on more convenience store junk food than ever. In their 2014 Eating Patterns in America report, researchers revealed that despite the jump in healthy eating around the country, millennials are turning their taste buds toward places like 7Eleven. Last year, young people selected calorie-packed convenience store food for a whopping 11.1 percent of their food stops, choosing pump-cheese nachos and greasy hot dogs on rollers over healthier, “real food” options.
Millenials are young adults between 18 and 34 years old, which accounts for approximately one-third of the U.S. population. According to the study, millennials are forgoing fancy restaurants and instead going for cheaper options. But NPD’s study shows that this group isn’t just noshing at McDonald’s or Burger King, but also getting more and more of their lunches and dinners at convenience marts and gas stations- where many would consider the snacks available hardly to be a complete meal.
Along with bulking up on nachos, chili dogs, and convenience store pizza slices, Millennials are also packing on additional calories and fat by washing these barely-nutritional items with fountain sodas, Slurpees and flavored milk. Surprisingly, NPD’s study found that these convenience-shop eats even beat out “higher end” fast food restaurants like Panera Bread and Chipotle, which rank in at 6.1 percent of food stops in 2014.
NPD’s study didn’t go into the reasons for Millennial’s penchant for gas station foods, but wager that cheap prices and on-the-go availability are the deciding factors.