A couple reading menus

A couple reading menus (Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels)

NEW YORK — A large menu is a hard thing to tackle. How do you choose between the endless options rolling down the page? Three in 10 Americans have “menu anxiety” when ordering food from a restaurant, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 adults found younger generations were far more likely to have anxiety while ordering — 41 percent of Gen Z and millennials (aged 18–43), compared with only 15 percent of Gen X and baby boomers (aged 44–77).

Younger generations were also more likely to let others order first so they could see what they were getting (47% vs. 30%). Checking out the menu online in advance is another thing younger Americans make a habit of, with a quarter (24%) of those aged 18 to 43 “always” doing this, compared to 15 percent of those aged 44 to 77.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Avocado Green Mattress, the survey looked beyond “menu anxiety,” and it also asked respondents which factors were most important to them when ordering food.

Taste was understandably the most important factor (71%), followed by cost (57%). The time needed for the food to be prepared (22%), how messy the meal would be (16%) and the foods’ environmental impact (15%) rounded out the top five factors. A fifth of Gen Z and millennials selected “environmental impact,” compared to only 7 percent of Gen X and baby boomers.

Younger generations were also more aware of what that environmental impact is. When ordering from a restaurant, 62 percent said they’re “very” or “somewhat” aware of the environmental impact of their meal, compared with 42 percent of Gen X and baby boomer respondents.

“Our individual choices matter,” says Avocado Green’s Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing and Sustainability, Jessica Hann, in a statement. “From how we eat to how we sleep, our collective decisions are inextricably linked to the health of our communities.”

The survey also asked respondents how seeing words like “vegan” and “vegetarian” on a restaurant’s menu affected what they might order — and results found that younger generations would be more likely to order those options. For example, if “vegan” is used as a label on the menu, 39 percent of younger generations would be more likely to order the food, compared with 15 percent of older generations.

Similar stats were revealed if food were labeled as “vegetarian”; a third of Gen Z and millennials would be more likely to order the item, compared to 17 percent of Gen X and baby boomers.

The survey also revealed that, overall, 77 percent of younger generations would like restaurants to be clearer about the environmental impact of different foods — versus 58 percent of older respondents. “Understanding our environmental impacts shouldn’t just be a younger generation thing,” saysHann. “We should all be pro clean air, pro clean water and pro healthy climate. We’re all responsible for the planet we leave behind for our kids and grandkids.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans (who have ever ordered food) was commissioned by Avocado Green Mattress between June 2 and June 6, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink


Chris Melore


Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor

1 Comment

  1. Robert says: