From convenience to technology, The Millennial Eater aims to understand what makes the millennial generation tick when it comes to their workplace and higher education catering.

By 2020, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce1, so understanding their eating preferences will enable caterers to tap into this growing market more effectively.

Catherine Roe, CEO, Elior UK, said: "Millennials – also known as Generation Y – fascinate us. They've been called the generation that lives to eat and 'the tastemakers in food'. But no one has ever attempted to fully explore their relationship with food – until now, that is. Our research highlights five key trends that define millennials' attitude to food, trends that will influence how the food industry meets their demands."

This first of its kind report revealed five trends:

1. Late Starters: Millennials shun the usual mealtimes. They skip breakfast twice a week on average, suggesting an appetite for mid-morning snacks. And when it comes to buying lunch, they want value, speed and convenience – and of course quality food.

2. Convenience is king: Millennials are a busy bunch. Habitual snackers, they dash into supermarkets and fast food outlets to grab a quick bite. Speed of service is the most important factor for 42% of them when buying breakfast, and 40% when buying lunch.

3. Digital connections: Social media is a second home to millennials. 66% favour outlets that are active on social media, and expect technology to be part of the eating out experience.

4. A healthier diet (tomorrow): 92% of millennials say they either eat healthily, or intend to. But their food choices suggest otherwise. Sausages, bacon, burgers and fries win out over salads, wraps and fruit.

5. Cooking is the new fashion: 91% of millennials cook at home, and anticipate eating out less in the coming years. They generally serve up the same meals they order when eating out.

Carina Paine Schofield PhD, PGDip, BSc (Hons), research fellow, Ashridge International Business School, said: "This significant report from Elior UK goes some way to answering key questions and closing the gap between millennials want and what the industry currently offers. In summary, millennials expect more. More from an employer, from a food provider and from life."

Elior UK commissioned Allegra Foodservice to conduct the survey of 1,000 18-30 year olds, including 30% students, to find out what they are looking for from their work and university catering options.

1 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2014