Teens have always loved their fast food, and a new survey shows just how – with big chains topping the list.

Chick-fil-A, Starbucks (SBUX) and Chipotle (CMG) are among the favorites of the younger generation, followed by McDonald’s (MCD) and Olive Garden (DRI), according to a large survey by Piper Sandler.

The “Taking Stock With Teens” survey was based on responses collected between August 17 and September 16 from 10,000 teens in 44 US states, with an average age of 15.8 years.

Despite growing competition in the chicken sandwich war, Georgia-based Chick-fil-A, known for its chicken sandwiches since 1964, was the top choice of 16% of teens polled by the company for the fourth consecutive time.

Starbucks came in at No.2 for teens at 10%, down slightly from the spring, followed by Chipotle which is tied with McDonald’s at 5%. For the second time, Olive Garden was fifth seed with 4%.

Previously, Dunkin ‘Donuts took fifth place in the previous survey, while Taco Bell achieved this ranking last year.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – JUNE 09: People line up for food at a Chipotle Mexican Grill on June 09, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Menu prices at the Chipotle Mexican Grill have increased by about four percent to cover the costs of raising its minimum wage to $ 15 an hour for employees. The restaurant industry has raised wages in hopes of attracting workers during times of labor shortages. (Photo by Brandon Bell / Getty Images)

Overall, food remained the most important category for high-income adolescent males – at 21% – followed by clothing at 16% and video games at 14%.

For women, clothing remained the top choice at 29%, up 200 basis points from last fall, followed by food at 21%, then personal care at 10%.

Overall, teen spending is up 6% from fall 2020, with the average teen spending around $ 2,274 per year.

Impossible against beyond

A plate of Beyond Fried Chicken served with KFC sauces is seen in Chicago, Illinois, USA on January 28, 2020. Photo taken on January 28, 2020. REUTERS / Richa Naidu

A plate of Beyond Fried Chicken served with KFC sauces is seen in Chicago, Illinois, USA on January 28, 2020. Photo taken on January 28, 2020. REUTERS / Richa Naidu

For the first time since spring 2020, the environment has ranked as the most important socio-political issue for teens, and the fast food giants seem to be listening.

More recently, McDonald’s announced a makeover for Happy Meal toys, which an executive called in line with the next generation of consumers who “care deeply about protecting the planet and what we can do to make it better. our more sustainable business ”.

Meanwhile, the vegetable protein market is slowly gaining the attention of young consumers.

According to the survey, 14% of teens consume plant-based meat, down one percentage point from spring 2021, with Impossible Foods as the # 1 choice for teens at 40%, followed by Beyond Meat (BYND) at # 2 with 31%, then Kellogg’s (K) Morningstar Farms capturing 22% of adolescent plant-based meat eaters.

There are still many more opportunities to grow however, of the 86% of teens who do not consume plant-based meat, 38% are willing to try it, up slightly from 35% in fall 2020. These are fast food giants. are teaming up with the plant protein giants to introduce alternative protein options to their menus.

(SHORT: Burger King)

(SHORT: Burger King)

And as of Monday, October 11, Burger King (QSR) announced plans to test Impossible Foods chicken nuggets in pilots in Des Moines, Boston and Miami. The eight plant-based “delicious chuckles” will be the second item on the chain’s Impossible Foods menu.

The Impossible Whopper debuted in 2019 and paved the way for other fast food giants to introduce meatless options, including chains like KFC, Starbucks (SBUX), Dunkin ‘Donuts, Shake Shack (SHAK) and more recently McDonald’s. The Golden Arches makes their very first plant-based burger, McPlant, created with Beyond Meat as part of a three-year strategic partnership.

According to Alon Chen, co-founder and CEO of Tastewise, this is just the start of the herbal market. He sees a “$ 14 billion opportunity over the next decade, where the question is not” if “every restaurant business should offer herbal alternatives, but” when “and what technology will prevail.”

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email him at [email protected]

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