Why Millennials are so Focused on Food

Millennials are stealing the spotlight from Baby Boomers, becoming the “It” generation, setting all the trends.  These young adults, born in the 1980’s will soon be the segment of the population with the greatest buying power.  Where research dollars were once spent studying the habits of the post WWII babies, those funds now go to research every aspect of millennial life.  Their habits, interests and desires are the stuff research is made of.  Every corporation longs to know their every whim and will throw money at anything that seems to appeal to the early adaptors of this generation.  They are the leading users of online shopping sites like Groupon where they shop for brands like       J. Crew that fit the casual lifestyle they crave.

They are the first generation that engages socially more through a smart phone than their parents, who came of age with a Princess phone.  What sets them apart from their parents and grandparents is the obvious computer driven learning and social media that has permeated their lives since childhood.  They are behind the fall of the brick and mortar, they buy everything they need online.  Once they know the fit of a particular brand, they no longer travel to that store.  They are smart about their money, using Groupon deals to save as much as 50% off merchandise at J. Crew.

There is no shortage of information online about what they eat.  Millennials are more fully engaged with their food than any other age group since farmers left their fields and headed for the cities.  Millennials like to know the source of their food, research their food, photograph their food and follow their favorite food trucks.  They carefully read the labels on food and drive the conversation about how food is grown, the genetic components, and the effects of food on their health.

The term “foodie” was coined to describe them.  Locavores by nature, they fully embrace farmer’s markets and coops.  They search out alternative food sources and are the leading activists against food deserts.  Food is not just “daily bread,” to them it’s an adventure.  They love to try out new restaurants and post pictures of their new “fave” dishes.  They push the envelope combining foods that would have been unheard of mere decades ago.  And they are sticklers for segmenting their diets.  Gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian adherents welcome and champion the differences.  One has to wonder…is there a change because they’re focused on the food, or because research is focused on them.