A new survey by foodservice wholesaler Musgrave MarketPlace, reveals that almost half of parents (47%) celebrate their child’s First Holy Communion with a meal out. The survey of 737 Irish parents into First Communion dining, reveals that celebrating at a local restaurant is the most popular way to mark the occasion (41%), followed by a meal out in a local hotel (39%), and pub grub at a local bar (14%).
According to the Musgrave MarketPlace survey, a third of parents spend up to €300 on First Holy Communion celebrations while a further third spend in excess of €500 dining out. One in five of those polled say they will have anywhere between 15-20 people join them for the event and 30% say they intend to have more than 30 people join the celebrations!
What’s on the menu?
The research shows that healthy and nutritious dining options are a key concern for parents. 12% say they would like to see more venues offer specific healthy meal choices for children on the menu, while over half (54%) say that they want to see restaurants offering half sized portions of the adult menu. However, there is still a place for the traditional it seems. A third (32%) claim they still want standard children’s menu fare such as nuggets and sausages on the menu when dining out.
Musgrave MarketPlace also asked parents what are the key considerations when planning a family meal out for a First Communion celebration. Unsurprisingly price and value are the key decision factors for parents (70%). Reflecting changing tastes and more awareness around allergies, over a third (39%) say that a menu which caters for specific dietary requirements such as gluten and lactose free options influences their dining decisions. Other things which impact parents dining choices include calories and nutritional information on the menu, the selection of vegetarian options available and the ability to cater for large groups.
Commenting on the findings Desi Derby, Marketing Director, Musgrave MarketPlace said:
“Communion celebrations remain a key revenue driver for restaurants, hotels and bars around Ireland and it’s clear from our research that parents are spending significantly on these types of occasions.
As Ireland’s leading foodservice wholesaler, we carried out this research to get a sense from parents as to what they want to see on menus and whether current food trends are influencing their dining decisions. The research shows that parents are now more aware than ever of what their children are eating and savvy eateries should be looking to cater for the growing trend for healthier options, ‘free from’ dishes, portion control and more nutritional information on menus.
In particular, we are seeing a growing demand from our customers for more ‘free from’ ingredients, both in our branches and through our online sales. We’ve added over 200 ‘free from’ products to our range in the last three years and sales in this area have grown by 80%. We have also partnered with dietitian Gillian McConnell who works with us to provide our customers with more education around these types of products and healthy menu options they can use in their own businesses.”