CHICAGO — Seventy-two million adult consumers — almost one in three adults — are “convenience consumers,” but their needs differ depending on their life stage and other characteristics. So relays a recent study by The NPD Group, a leading market research company, titled The Many Facets of Convenience.

The study states “convenience consumers”, who attitudinally place a premium on convenience, usually fall into one or more of the following groups: younger adults, males, singles who have never been married, single-member households, working parents, parents with a young child (five years old or younger) or lower-income households.

Feeling their lives are hectic and rushed, convenience consumers consider a dinner taking more than 30 minutes to prepare is inconvenient. Although they believe convenient foods are more expensive, less healthy and don’t taste as good, they also indicate “convenience is worth paying for.”

Although convenience consumers differ attitudinally from other consumers in many ways, they are similar in some regards, The NPD study also found. Two-thirds of them, on par with other consumers, said they enjoy cooking. And like other adults, most convenience consumers plan meals ahead of time.

“Convenience has been a buzz word in the food and beverage industry for a long time, but we found through our research that it’s really not a one-size-fits-all concept,” says Ann Hanson, director of product development in NPD’s food and beverage unit. “Americans differ in how they define and value convenience. It’s important that food and beverage marketers differentiate the various meanings of convenience among their consumers and message accordingly...or they'll miss the target."