Millennials (or those born between 1981 and 1996)… a generation whose food choices and habits seem to be leading the food industry into new paths. What are their characteristics and what impact do they have on shaping our food culture?
Healthier food choices
The Millennial generation is moving away from choosing low-calorie meal choices – something that was in popular in past generations – and is looking for “cleaner” and healthier food, increasing the demand for more fresh, organic, locally produced products – free of preservatives and additives (“clean label” products – although the term is still not clearly defined and has a different meaning for each consumer).
What do we eat and exactly how is it produced?
They are of those who want to know exactly what it is that they will consume, a complete nutritional analysis of its ingredients and how it was produced. They are the ones who will carefully read the label on the package or scan the barcode to get additional information on what they are about to put in their cart. This gives a good push to the food industries to be transparent in the labeling of ingredients, while putting pressure making better quality food. In the context, more and more restaurants include in their menu the ingredients of each dish and their origin.
Everything is evaluated from the presentation
… Or to be more precise, from the packaging. It common for a consumer to choose and try a new product presented on the shelf from the packaging – if no other information has been collected about it. For Millennials, however, what plays a key role is not the colors or the design, but the materials, and whether they are environmentally friendly, to keep their environmental footprint low.
Consumer curiosity to discover new flavours
For the Millennial generation, food – compared to previous generations – is an adventure. They like to try different and intense flavours, combinations from various cuisines of the world unusual ingredients and new tastes. Moreover, they experiment with their food by making personalised additions or combinations.
It’s all about convenience
For the Millennials, convenience plays an important role when it comes to food. This fact has dramatically increased online orders, placing the delivery industry into a growth path and putting the trend of ghost kitchens (“ghost kitchens” -preparing food exclusively for delivery) on the field.
Convenience is also linked to the eating out habit, which is a favorite trend for the Millenials. However, eating in a restaurant also fulfils another very important human need, the need of communication – not virtually, obviously – since this generation spends most of its time in front of a screen. In any case, the market needs more dining sites to cover this growing demand.
Cooking = Escape
Although convenience is important for Millennials, plenty of them are also enjoy cooking at home, as they consider it as a way to escape from their demanding daily life. And when cooking is not just a necessity, but a hobby, experimenting with new flavours is part of the game. This practically means a demand for more “twisted” or exotic products on supermarket shelves.
Considering all the above, it’s clear that this generation has paved the way to produce more clean-label foods, pushing an entire industry and agricultural sector to follow and evolve the need for healthier food. One thing is certain, this will be long trip.