Every generation has an impact on shaping our society; they leave a mark. Baby Boomers are known for their discipline and solid work ethic, while Generation Z-ers are said to be entrepreneurial, multi-taskers and private. What about millennials? What is their legacy? This highly studied group of individuals is said to be one of the most educated generations; they are tech savvy, progressive, confident and diverse. Many in this group identify themselves as global citizens and strive to make the world a better place. They have access to more information than ever before, and are applying that knowledge in all aspects of their lives.
Millennials are health-centric, and the first generation that are willing to pay a premium for quality products. They look for foods that are traceable, sustainable, and organic; this age group is highly committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. Despite older generations having more disposable income, the younger groups coming through are the ones who are not only willing to, but actually paying the premium for foods made with quality ingredients. 38% of millennials report that whether or not a food item is sourced sustainably is key factor in their decision to buy something. Compared to older generations in particular; the Silent Generation (71+) and Baby Boomers (53-71), millennials are most likely to place an emphasis on health attributes compared to any other group. They are also far more concerned with fresh, local, healthy and natural food and beverage than any generation before. They are passionate about sustainable options, and are more likely to shop at a local farmer’s market for fresh farm to table ingredients, rather than purchase overseas products at a grocery store chain, even if they are cheaper.
Although millennials aren’t afraid to drop some coin on health foods, it’s important for brands to establish customer loyalty through honest and healthy claims. Transparency is of the utmost importance, as 63% of consumers globally remain suspicious about health food claims. Recently, the company Kashi, makers of plant-based whole grain cereals, were found to be making dishonest claims about the ‘naturalness’ of their ingredients. They were under serous scrutiny by the public because some of their ingredients were found to be GMO. They’ve since adjusted the claims on their website to reflect a more honest representation of their brand and the products that they use.
Honesty is just as important as the ingredients that are used. Carbonated and sugary drinks are out, whereas kombucha, and organic almond mylk are very much in. The popularity of higher price point food options like free range eggs and organic coconut yogurts are on the rise, while caged eggs and zero fat (high-sugar) yogurts are far less popular among millennials. Milk is among one of the first switches to organic that a consumer typically makes, when going organic. Despite costing as much as 300% more (a gallon of organic milk sells for $6 compared to $2 for generic), sales for organic milk are ever-increasing. This beverage is in such high demand that there has even been a shortage in recent years, causing prices to further skyrocket. Despite the much higher price point for groceries at organic, all-natural grocers, these businesses are thriving. As I mentioned earlier, millennials are the most educated generation to date. Between the internet, social media, TV, and news reports to name a few, the amount of knowledge that this group has about nutrition and its links to disease and longevity is uncanny. They are very aware of the correlation between what we ingest and how that makes us look and feel. Millennials may be a frugal generation, but they are not willing to sacrifice quality to save a few dollars.
Not only are food manufacturers starting to recognize the power of this incredibly influential group, but big box stores as well. In the US, common chains such as 7-11 and Walmart are literally decreasing the size of their stores, in addition to stocking it will healthy snacks, such as cold pressed juices, to attract this generation’s desire for local and healthy alternatives. Restaurants too, are adding and identifying plant-based meal options to position themselves as healthy, as well as attract this ever-increasing group of consumers. Although, healthy food doesn’t come cheap, if you ask me, the millennials have got it figured out. If you’re going to spend money on something, then surely it should be your health. They say that money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy delicious and healthy foods – which is kind of the same thing, right?
The Author: Daina Kenins
Daina is a lover of all things health & wellness related; a health food connoisseur, an avid marathon runner, a certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher and a spin studio manager. She is ambassador for healthy eating and loves to create and share recipes on her instagram page @thepaleobean.