The University of Arizona educates a population of 42,000 people. That’s 42,000 people who need a constant supply of sustenance to run, walk, swim & study. That’s 42,000 people that could help make or break your food business. But the million dollar question is, how do you reach them?

Let’s look at some stats to get to know our audience a bit better…

    • 50 percent of millennials refer to themselves as “foodies,” but 60 percent of those still visit fast-food restaurants at least once a week (compared with 48 percent for older adults) Source: Washington Post
    • “It’s estimated [millennials will] be spending $200 billion annually by 2017 and $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers, in the U.S. Alone.” Source: Forbes
    • Adults 18-24 y.o. send and receive over 128 texts every day. (Experian Marketing Services)
    • But texting only comprises 33% of Millennials’ mobile usage. (RealityMine)
    • Ninety percent of young adults (ages 18 to 29) use social media. Thirty-five percent of those over age 65 do. (Pew Research Center)
    • The “most important” social networks to teens and young adults (aged 12-24) are now Instagram (32 percent), Twitter (24 percent), Facebook (14 percent), Snapchat (13 percent) and Tumblr (4 percent). (Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends)

So what does this tell us?

  1. You can’t not target college students, especially in Tucson.
  2. College students still thrive on fast, prepared foods, but would prefer if it were higher quality – fitting for most food artisans’ products.
  3. College aged students grew up on tech and are constantly plugged in – especially on their phones.
  4. Facebook alone is not a sufficient social platform to reach college students.

Enter the world of food apps | new tech trends

While the rest of us still visit the farmer’s market every weekend and call the local pizza company when we are feeling lazy, college students have really opened up a whole stream of new options with the use of food apps – several of which were started by college students.The popularity of food apps is really a natural progression given the way millennials prefer to communicate and the amount of time they spend on their devices. These apps allow consumers to search for food items, coupons and local offers, request delivery and pay through the apps.

One study shows that 74 percent of millennials would order delivery from a table service restaurant if available, compared to 56 percent of all adults. At limited service restaurants, the demand for delivery is even higher. Eight in 10 millennials (ages 18-34) said they likely would use delivery, compared with 60 percent of all adults.

An overview of a few of the more popular food apps

  • Tapingo is a mobile commerce application that offers ordering for food pickup and delivery services for college campuses. The company has an agreement in place with U of A and includes food services from the student union.
  • Grubhub & Seamless – online and mobile food-ordering company that connects diners with local restaurants. It has more than 45,000 restaurant partners in over 1,100 cities. According to one site, “The amount of commission ranges from 5% to 15%. On an average, GrubHub charges a commission of 13.5%.” A local search turned up 40 different food options in Grubhub.
  • eat24 – Yelp-owned delivery network that directly competes with Grubhub and Seamless.  According to one site, “Their standard rate is 12.5%.  They automatically lower your rates to 10% when you have more than 3 listings.” A local search showed a similar number of food options as Grubhub.
  • EatStreet – Another food ordering app, EatStreet claims to be a one-stop-shop for online ordering and marketing.
  • EnvoyNow – campus food delivery service that uses college students for deliveries. App processes all orders and handles deliveries.
  • Hooked – claims to be the #1 college food and drink app for finding local restaurant deals. Currently not available in Tucson.
  • UberEATS – food delivery using same concept as car service. Currently not available in Tucson.

Let’s wrap this us

So, in conclusion, if you want to reach that mystical college creature with your marketing and have the opportunity to expand your potential customer base by 42,000 people –  keep your finger on the pulse of new tech trends and emerging platforms. Figuring out how to take part in the food app trend may be the smartest decision you have yet to make.

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