CHICAGO — Consumers age 16 to 31 are the largest consumers of natural and organic foods, and baby boomers are more interested in limiting trans fats than other generations, according to the "Generational Consumer Trend Report" from Technomic.

Baby boomers (ages 43 to 62) are more likely to believe in balanced meals, consumption of fruits and vegetables and avoidance of fats than younger generations. While 51% of baby boomers said they try to avoid trans fats on a regular basis, only 34% of Millenials (ages 16 to 31) and 37% of Gen Xers (ages 32 to 42) avoid trans fats regularly.

About half of Millennials eat more meals away from home than at home while only four in 10 Gen Xers dine out more often than they eat at home. Baby boomers tend to eat out primarily for special occasions.

All generations said freshly prepared food is important when choosing a restaurant, and about half of Millennials and baby boomers said the opportunity to increase or decrease portion size is important when choosing a restaurant for a dine-in meal. Having child-friendly menus was important to 47% of Gen Xers, and Millennials are most open to the idea of ordering food service through the internet.

"We’re in a highly competitive market, one in which many consumers are shifting what were formerly discretionary dollars toward the purchase of necessities," said Darren Tristano, executive vice-president of Technomic Information Services. "It’s more important than ever for restaurant operators to understand what their consumers are looking for in the dining experience and tailor their offering to it. To do that, operators and suppliers must have information that lets them get into the heads of the consumer both by generational segment and psychographic cluster."