The Latest on How Millennials Are Changing the Food Industry

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The Latest on How Millennials Are Changing the Food Industry

There’s been a lot written about how millennials are changing the food industry. This large generation, who are now having families, want to know what’s in their food. They’re also open to non-traditional foods and are not easily sold on marketing claims.

Here’s the latest on millennial food preferences, and what that means for food manufacturers and producers.

“I’ll take the asiago burger” 

Millennials have moved on from the cheeses their parents served — like melty macaroni and cheese, liquid-y nacho sauce and the shiny orange cheese burger.

They want cheese that’s not processed, and they want it from cheese makers who use milk and no preservatives — cheeses based on Old World recipes, like gouda, parmesan and butterkäse.

And the proof is in the markets. For the fourth year running, sales of processed cheese have continued to drop, with a projected decrease of 1.6 percent this year.

Demand for plant protein is on the rise

When it comes to protein choices, millennials are steering the market toward alternative meats. And while meat producers push forward with naming-rights legislation, this large, late-20th century generation likes plant-based proteins.

For example, Mintel’s 2017 Food and Beverage Report found the following:

  • Nearly eight in [ten] US millennials eat meat alternatives, compared to more than half of non-millennials.

  • Almost one-third of US millennials are trying to eat a more plant-based diet, compared to more than one-quarter of non-millennials.

  • A third of US consumers plan to buy more vegetarian/plant-based food products in the next year, rising to nearly two in five of millennials.

And with big food and big players backing meat-alternative startups such as Beyond Meat, it seems that plant-based proteins are picking up speed.

Millennials want “true” food

For a long time, food label ingredients didn’t matter…because no one could read them. The micro-font paragraph on the side of the insta-meal read more like a chemist’s shopping list: disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, silicon dioxide and … monosodium glutamate.

Additionally, food claims like “natural” and “heart healthy” started to crumble (once the FTC and litigators stepped in). Consumers were no longer willing to accept misleading food marketing terms.

Millennial consumers now want food transparency. That’s why startups are creating software that shows the exact “journey” of their coffee or the safety of their chicken.

They’re also the generation that is more likely to choose organic and natural products. And as they have children, the demand for organic food will only continue to increase.

Millennials are changing the food industry, one natural product at a time

Ultimately, millennials are reshaping food manufacturing and production. They read the food labels, care about the ingredients, and make food buying decisions based on what they find.

They also have specific food preferences that new — and traditional — food companies are jumping on to accommodate.

What are your thoughts on how millennials are changing food production? Have you made changes to meet their demand? Let us know in the comments.

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