How one generation is influencing food and nutrition trends


Were you born between 1982 and 2001? If so, you're a "Millennial," and according to a new report, your generation's influence may just transform the food landscape for all of us. While Millennials prefer less expensive food and they want it to be convenient, they're willing to pay more for fresh, healthy food. This generation is also more aligned with key food movements, including organic agriculture and small-batch artisanal cuisine.

According to the report, Millennials are less loyal to specific brands, and they shop for food in ways that are different from Baby Boomers: They buy online and shop at multiple venues rather than purchasing everything at traditional "one-stop-shop" supermarkets. They also seek out specialty foods, including ethnic, organic, and natural products, and are willing to pay more for the foods they value.

As this group's purchasing power grows and they raise their children to eat this way, their preferences are likely to influence food availability in ways that could benefit us all nutritionally (e.g. fewer highly processed foods with artificial additives and long shelf lives, and more fresh options). We've already seen a shift in the structure of grocery stores, likely from the influence of Generation X (born 1965 to 1981), including more fresh, ready-to-eat options. Another recent report from the University of Michigan found that compared to the generation before them, GenXers cook at home more often, talk to friends about food, and watch food shows on TV about four times a month. Also, about half of Xers say they prefer to buy organic foods at least some of the time.

Which generation are you? What do you value when it comes to food and how do you think it's different from your parents' generation? Please tweet your thoughts to @cynthiasass and @Shape_Magazine


Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.