The 101 on the Organic Consumer

The Lempert Report
April 26, 2019

Millennials are focusing more of their energy on eating wholesome, organic foods from quality, transparent providers.

According to the Organic Trade Association's survey of American families, a whopping 52% of organic customers are millennials (Gen X'ers account for 35%, and baby boomers represent just 14%), while research firm FutureCast found that 80% of millennials place serious value on having access to information about where their food is coming from.

“We’re definitely excited about the recent uptick in millennial shoppers,” says Michael Hurwitz director of the New York Greenmarket, one of the longest running farmers markets in the US. “For a long time, younger people weren’t our typical demographic,” he said in an interview with Refinery29.

Nationwide, Refinery29 writes, millennials are focusing more of their energy on eating wholesome, organic foods from quality, transparent providers. 

Beyond buying local and eating organic, millennials are also talking more about their food both out loud and online and spending more time in the kitchen.

“This generation is more interested in food as currency than any I have seen before,” says Krishnendu Ray, food studies professor and department chair at New York University. “My students talk constantly about food — the things they cook, what they will eat for dinner tonight, restaurants they enjoy. It’s a social topic, like sports or music. It’s on their minds.” 

Restaurants, according to the article, are placing a larger (and more public) emphasis on both their ingredients and where they come from. “It’s all about having relationships with the people who grew our food and loving and trusting the products they give us,” says Sara Zandi, co-owner of Brushland Eating House— a rustic farm-to-fork restaurant tucked into New York’s Catskill Mountains. “We’re really transparent about what we’re serving — and customers love that.”

Katherine Magruder, adjunct food studies professor at both New York University and The New School points out that farmers' market produce is a substantial privilege — as is having access to a market to begin with. “It's important to note that, though wellness and mindful eating have a lot of cultural capital at the moment, these tastes are especially prevalent among white, class-privileged folks in big cities and along the coasts.”