Skip to content

16 Ways Millennials are #Winning the Food Game (Part 4 of 4)

December 22, 2012

Hello again and welcome back to the final installment of our Millennial Eating series. We’ve come down to the final four reasons why Millennials are #winining the food game.

Check it out!

4. Odds are Organic

While Millennials tend to be more price conscious than Baby Boomers, they are willing to pay more for specific attributes they value which include convenience, freshness, health, variety and natural/organic.

Organic foods are made in a way that limits the use of synthetic materials during production. For instance, an organic vegetable would be grown on a farm without pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. When it comes to natural/organic products, for example, 58 percent of Millennials said they are willing to pay more for natural/organic products, compared to only 43 percent of Baby Boomers who said the same. Free Photo - Raddish

According to Scott Mushkin, Managing Director of Food and Drug Retailing at Jefferies, “Millennials, generally speaking, are not a one issue generation. Natural and organic, flavor, and convenience mean a lot.” Perhaps this is why 30% of Millennials eat foods that are certified organic, compared that to the 21% of Gen X-ers and 15% of boomers.

Furthermore, when rating food quality in a Techomic survey, respondents said they consider which ingredients were from local, sustainable and organic sources. They preferred descriptors like “free-range” or “grass-fed”.

Nutritional Impact: Millennials understand the health aspects of organic foods. The non-exhausted list includes:

  • No Pesticides/Herbicides- We like to ‘pick our poison’, just preferably not in our vegetables
  • No Hormones – How we like our men: Buff, yet steroid- free
  • No Antibiotics-  I’ll save these for when I get sick, thank you
  • High Nutrient Levels – Like on Christmas, I’ll take the smaller package if the value of what is inside is higher.
  • No Artificial Coloring- Ever buy a red, seemly juicy tomato…that wasn’t even ripe?

3.  Store Snobs and Selective Shoppers

I’m not going to lie; I’m a huge Aldi fan. They keep it simple and simple is good to me. They have a cute saying that I enjoy that reads, ‘You can’t eat frills…so why pay for them?” I don’t think I’m the only #balleronabudget that feels this way. But the point to my Aldi rant is that Millennials are selective about where they shop for food, for good reason, and they’re not afraid to say why.

Unfortunately, the industry tends to find Millennials as an unworthy cause when it comes to meeting our shopping needs. Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click, which consults with clients on how technology is influencing shopping says “[Millennials] are not the best shoppers; they aren’t that potent. In some respects, Millennials have been hung out as an opportunity, when in fact there is not enough business there.”

So, how do Millennials respond? The way they always do; by creating their own paths. Research indicates that Millennials are 18% less likely to shop at traditional grocers and given their readiness to explore additional channels, grocers need to make changes to entice them. Millennials will buy online and shop at multiple venues rather than purchasing everything at a typical ‘one-stop-shop’.

And some stores are responding to Millennials. For instance, Whole Foods maintains over 60 boards on Pintrest with titles such as “Who Wants Dinner?” and “Eat Your Veggies”, all aimed at meeting the Millennials needs. Trader Joe’s embraces Millennials by offering ideas for how to use their diverse and capricious nutrition preferences. Every Trader Joe product is labeled and guaranteed to contain no artificial colors, no flavors or preservatives, no MSG, no genetically modified ingredients or artificial trans fats. It’s like music to a dietitian’s ears! They also came out with this handy product list to help aid shoppers in making the best possible choices.

“Despite its 45-year history, Trader Joe’s appears to have a unique and admirable appeal with many Millennials, and our early adopter participants who offered insights on the grocer largely perceive the chain as catering to their own generation,” said Ann Bahr Thompson, founding partner of Onesixtyfourth.”Trader Joe’s feels like it’s theirs. Its food offerings are inexpensive, interesting, and delicious, and most importantly, the brand is hip and cool in that elusive offbeat and alternative way.”

Nutritional Impact: Choice is a good thing when it comes to shopping, and because of the Millennials demand for choice and information in shopping, many cities are now surrounded by grocery stores such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods that have found fun ways to promote and stock healthier options.  Data  from Jefferies Group showed that the purchase of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood was very important to Millennials. These stores showcase their salad bars, healthy hot meal options and on-the-go nutrient dense snacks. Locally grown produce is also a growing trend within these grocery stores. When Millennials lead the way with healthy demands and grocers follow, everyone benefits.

2. Educated Eaters

“Although they are better educated, more tech-savvy, and quicker to adapt than those who have come before them, they refuse to blindly conform to traditional standards and time honored institutions. Instead, they boldly ask why?” (Eric Chester- “Employing Generation Why”)

We are educated and we like to share what we know. “Millennials are more likely to recommend products and start trend. They are more involved in pop culture and other activities that would compel them to try new products and recommend them to friends” (Mintel Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing). And we’ve been called ‘the most diverse and educated generation in history.”  Furthermore, 51% of Millennials consult four or more sources of information when making brand purchase decisions (8095).

book and character 2

Because Millennials were brought up in an educational system that utilized group work more than individual study, we are programmed to work with peers and solicit feedback. We’d rather shop with friends than alone. And we’re more likely to use technology like phone apps or barcodes to find out more about the nutritional value of products before we purchase them.

Nutritional Impact:

There is a story behind our food and we are looking to learn about it. How is it made? What is in it? Eight in ten Millennials say they like to hear ‘behind the scenes’ commercials for foods they consume because they want to know more about how their food is produced. Millennials don’t feel that brands disclose enough information about their food products. This is what puts Millennials ahead of the food game! Generation X tends to be less interested, and Boomers are also less engaged than Millennials. Knowledge is power…and health!

1. Health Heroes

Alas, number one. Millennials are kind of the ‘health heroes’ of the nation! Research shows that more than any other generation, Millennials care about the health and general well-being of themselves and their families.  And perhaps some of that awareness is due in part to the help of their boomer parents. “Millennials grew up in healthier homes than previous generations so have a greater awareness for health-enhancing ingredients”, says John Gehbaur, marketing manager for BASF. So thanks, mom and dad!

In spite of some setbacks, for the most part Millennials still put health first. As we continually stress on Nutrition Lately, health is not just about good nutrition. Being a ‘health hero’ to us means adopting a balance between good nutritional choices, savvy shopping, economic health, daily fitness routines, and stress reduction.  Let the stats show you how Millennials are kickin’ butt and takin’ names:

  • Research has showed that Millennials are increasingly cost conscious, according to 8095, there are certain products that Millennials are willing to pay premium for, and health-related items come out on top at 81%.
  •  A company called Brand Amplitude studied Millennials and found that the generation is much more likely to “focus on healthiness and presence of preservatives when evaluating food options.”
  • “They are concerned about blood pressure and cholesterol along with weight management, immunity and digestion. Compared to other population segments, they are also more concerned about tiredness, stress, cancer and depression.” (BASF)
  • Millennials are 23% more likely to be committed to working out twice a week (
  • Millennials are 36% more likely to follow a healthy eating plan (

Superhero Free Photo

Nutritional Impact: When we look ahead, the cost of health care will be mostly borne by Gen Y. It is important that we do what we can now to offset the cost of healthcare in the future.  Millennials understand this because they’ve lived it. They’ve watched their boomer parents suffer from heart disease and they know what it feels like to have extreme economic constraints. Most importantly, Millennials understand more than any other generation that prevention is the key.

And in the years ahead, Millennials food preferences and values on a nutritional lifestyle will affect more than themselves. Since many will form families of their own and some are boomeranging back home, Millennials affect the household food purchases of parents, siblings, and grandparents. This in turn affects the health of not just our generation, but generations before us and to come.

In the past, Millennials have been criticized for being ‘Generation Me’. What we’ve shown in this series is that when it comes to nutrition, Millennials should be called ‘Generation We.’  We’ve given 15 reasons leading up to number one, crowning Millennials as ‘Health Heroes’ of this nation.

So, how are Millennials #winning the food game? Well, doesn’t the hero always win? 🙂

Thanks for joining!


Elise Truman Bio

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: