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Ingredients

Generational shopping habits signal food’s future

1/24/2018  By Jeannie Swedberg
By most measures, 2017 was a seminal year for the grocery industry—a sonic boom blasted through it when Amazon announced plans to acquire Whole Foods. All the little tremors from alternative food vehicles/delivery formats, consumer direct meal services to gas station sushi were just blazing the trail. When you step back and consider this shift away from traditional grocery retailing, it’s not so surprising. In fact, it follows the habits of younger generations (Millennials/Gen Z) who are not only digitally dependent, but who view food and cooking in a different manner than their predecessors.

As a result, the recent USDA Economic Research Service report on the food buying habits of American consumers and what that may mean for future food demand shouldn’t be surprising. Basically, it reinforces what one might already suspect—younger consumers make fewer trips to buy groceries and eat out more than older generations.

Here are a few other insights to chew on:

• Millennials dine out about 30 percent more often than other generations.
• Across the board, higher income households buy more from the perimeter of the store—basic ingredients, fruit and veggies, and fewer processed foods.
• Of all the age groups examined, Millennials spend the least on grains, white meat and red meat, while spending more on prepared foods, pasta and sugar/sweets.
• When examining income levels, there was some evidence Millennials seem to like fruit and veggies more than older generations.
• While all generations spend about the same amount of time daily on secondary snacking, Millennials spend the least time on primary eating and drinking.
• Millennials also spend less time on food preparation, presentation and cleanup.

All this is food for thought for future product development…time-saving, plant-forward with a hint of sweetness from fruit.

For more details on the research, sample and findings, read the Entire Report