Senior consumers are a rapidly growing and highly heterogeneous part of the world’s population. To date little is known about their motivations to consume meals. In the current study we therefore aim to identify consumer segments within the group of vital community-dwelling older adults on the basis of mealtime functionality (for example ‘I eat because I’m hungry’, or ‘I eat because it is cosy,’). To this end, we identified consumer segments based on the senior’s mealtime functionalities as reported during an online survey. To obtain in-depth insights regarding mealtime functionality, laddering interviews about evening meal functionality were conducted. The online survey showed three consumer clusters based on mealtime functionality: Social eaters, Physical eaters, and Thoughtless eaters. Thoughtless eaters tend to eat without consciously thinking about it, and hence were not further interviewed on their cognitive mealtime motivations. Both the segmentation and the in-depth interviews showed that for the social eaters the cosiness and social function of a meal are important, whereas for the physical eaters the focus is more on the health and nutrient aspects of a meal. These results provide actionable insights for the development of meals, food products and communication strategies tailored to the needs of vital community-dwelling older consumers.