Is The Food Industry Paying TOO Much Attention to Millennials?

Articles
September 22, 2016

Is The Food Industry Paying TOO Much Attention to Millennials?

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) set out to answer these questions with their survey titled, “Food Decision 2016: The Impact of a Growing National Food Dialogue.”

Today Millennials take up most of the consumer news. From demanding increased transparency to more cooking at home, their desires are changing the food, nutrition and retail landscape. But what about our beloved Boomers? You know those 76 million Americans who changed the world forever and now are heading into retirement! How have their habits changed, and what do they look for today when shopping and choosing foods?

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) set out to answer these questions with their survey titled, “Food Decision 2016: The Impact of a Growing National Food Dialogue.” 

The survey revealed that the perception of healthfulness of certain foods varies between generations, most notably Boomers versus Millennials. Boomers are more likely than Millennials to rate whole grains (80 vs. 70%), protein from plant sources (75 vs. 63%), and omega-3 fatty acids (71 vs. 59%) as healthy. Perhaps as Boomers get closer to death, life and what they eat is becoming more important. 

Boomers are also looking for different health benefits compared to other generations. Boomers are more likely than Millennials to be interested in foods that promote weight management, healthy aging, increased energy, and cardiovascular health; however, sustainability and healthfulness are rising among Boomers. 

What do Boomers look for when deciding to eat or purchase a food or beverage? Top three responses were expiration date, brand name and nutrition facts panel. Boomers are also more likely to define a healthy eating style by moderation and a diet that includes healthy items like produce, protein and fiber.

Other generations could learn a thing or two from Boomers, who are more likely to spend 15-30 minutes eating dinner; a habit that is linked to increased satiety and satisfaction with a meal. In addition, Boomers are more likely to make an effort in reducing food waste than other generations by taking leftovers home from restaurants and using them for cooking.

Boomers also report shifting opinions on sweeteners. Almost four in ten Boomers believe “added” sugars are less healthful than they used to believe. Of those that now believe “added” sugars are less healthful, nine in ten say they are consuming less. Media is the top factor influencing this belief. Looks like the Boomers are not yet ready to turn the food baton over to the Millenials. 

The results are derived from an online survey of 1,003 Americans ages 18 to 80, conducted March 17 to March 24, 2016.