Food Meets Technology: Introducing The Digital Eater Segmentation

Food. The word evokes a world of rich, happy images: cozy family meals; the steamy wake-up call of the first coffee, the fragrant scent of ripe cantaloupe, the formality of crisp white tablecloths, and the allure of decadent desserts.

Food is an exclusively real world, multi-sensory experience. But that doesn’t mean that technology is not influencing what we eat, how we get it and how we learn about it. Indeed, it is profoundly shaping everything from being able to order a Domino’s pizza with just one click, to sourcing exotic foods online.

But not everyone is the same when it comes to how technology affects their food choices. In fact, we see a great deal of variation. That’s why we developed the Digital Eater segmentation. It groups Americans into five distinct schools of thought. Here is a very brief introduction to these segments:

  • Digital Food Enthusiasts live a life in which digital is inextricably intertwined in everything they do. And they love food, so food and technology go together as naturally as salt and pepper. View infographic.
  • Digital Diners love their restaurants and are quite happy to use digital means to connect with them, whether it be ordering takeout, reading reviews or perusing menus in search of that next great meal. View infographic.
  • Digital Convenience Buyers are digital natives, happy to embrace technology in all aspects of their life. They love the convenience of having an app to order takeout, but food is not their passion. View infographic.

Taken together, these three digital eating segments total almost 100 million Americans—a large and growing opportunity.

On the other side of the divide there are:

  • Digital Reluctants, for whom groceries are something you find in a store, a restaurant is a place you go and an app is something you eat as a starter.
  • The Unengaged live in a different world than groups like the Digital Food Enthusiasts. Neither food nor technology really interest them. They eat to live, not live to eat.

These segments have been extensively profiled from the restaurant perspective in our whitepaper, The Digitization of Restaurants: Understanding the Five Faces of Digital Eating.

There are significant generational differences between the segments, which is consistent with what we observed in our research entitled The Future of Food: Are You Ready for the Millennials?

This segmentation is pre-profiled on our national market communities, and can be added to any ad hoc studies, or can form the basis for developing a Digital Eater insight community. For thought starters on how the Digital Eater segmentation can enrich your research, see our whitepaper The Digitization of Restaurants: Understanding the Five Faces of Digital Eating, or contact us. Bon Appétit!

Download Whitepaper