American Millennials are increasingly purchasing more healthy and nutritious foods.
While healthy eating isn’t traditionally associated with college and post-college types, American Millennials are increasingly chucking the Cheez Doodles for more natural and nutritious foods. A study of Millennials and Gen X by Brand Amplitude found that the younger generation is much more likely to “focus on healthiness and presence of preservatives when evaluating food options.” And more college students are aligning with the “less-meat to meatless spectrum from flexitarian to vegetarian to vegan and even raw diets,” according to the recent “Collegiate Gen Y Eating” report from Packaged Facts and CCD Innovation.
Health-conscious but also drawn to tasty and novel food choices, the under-35 set is helping to drive profits for niche grocery players like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and challenging traditional supermarket chains. Whole Foods posted a 32 percent surge in net income for its latest quarter, with CEO John Mackey attributing the jump in part to Millennials, who are “already familiar with natural organic food” because they grew up eating from Whole Foods. A joint study from Jefferies and AlixPartners reports that 58 percent of Millennials are willing to pay more for natural or organic foods vs. 43 percent of Baby Boomers, posing a threat to traditional supermarket chains. Some, such as Wegmans, are getting in on the game by hosting vegetable tasting parties and offering point-of-purchase recipe options. Supermarket brands are adjusting their offerings as well—take Campbell Soup Co.’s recent purchase of Bolthouse Farms, which sells baby carrots, healthy juice blends and refrigerated salad dressings.