Millennial food trends: home cooking, probiotics, and more

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How millennials are changing the U.S. food landscape

Health-conscious millennials are reshaping how Americans eat, causing a spike in the popularity of foods that are both eco-friendly and nutritious.

Products such cage-free eggs, “free-from” foods and organic products appearing in more grocery stores (not just specialty organic grocers) can be attributed to the influence of millennials.

Consumers ages 19 to 35 wield a large amount of power in the food industry, so it’s no surprise that they are often catered to by brands and businesses. 

Earning the favor of millennials can yield a big profit, since millennials are often willing to pay more for products that align with their personal values and to advocate for them on social media.

Cooking at home

Dining out takes a big bite out of millennials’ wallets -- an estimated 44 percent of millennials’ food dollars is spent eating out at restaurants, according to a 2016 analysis. But that may change.

According to a survey commissioned by the online grocer Peapod, a third of Americans said they wanted to cook dinner at home more in 2017. Millennials were twice as likely as baby boomers to say they were planning to cook at home more this year.

Food that looks good on social media

Social media savvy millennials are fueling the trend toward seeking out food that looks good on social media. A recent study by Maru/Matchbox found that a whopping 69 percent of millennials snap a picture of their food before eating it.

Consequently, restaurants are becoming more aware of how their food will look when photographed -- and with good reason. Brands and businesses that are favored by millennials get free advertising by way of their social media advocacy.

Growing trust in small brands

Millennials are also more likely to trust small brands to deliver features like nsustainably sourced ingredients and no artificial preservatives.

Over a third of millennials (35 percent) who participated in the Maru/Matchbox study said they trust small local brands more than they used to, compared to 25 percent of those age 35 to 54. 

Millennials' blooming trust in small brands stands to reason, as millennials are more likely than older generations to say they value authenticity and transparency in brands and products.


According to a recent survey by Packaged Facts, roughly a quarter of adults seek out foods and beverages with high amounts of probiotics or prebiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. These days, probiotics can even be found in soda, coffee, tea, soups, and beer. 

“Probiotics have emerged as a driving trend in the industry," said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. 

"And given the core importance of gut health, this suggests continued potential for growth of probiotic- and prebiotic-containing foods, as consumers continue to learn more about them and next-generation products make their case in the market."

Millennials embrace probiotic and prebiotic products because they are associated with the hottest wellness trends, from superfoods and ancient grains to sports nutrition.

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