- Millennials make up a sizable portion of Americans who self-identify as foodies, but preferences among millennials and millennial foodies vary widely based on factors like gender, ethnicity, and geography, according to a recent study from youth marketing research firm Ypulse.
- While young men and women were equally likely to try a trendy food, the types of trendy foods differed. Young men were more likely to try craft beer, beer bars, beer pairings and specialty bitters. Young women were more keen on quinoa, meals served in bowls, spiralized vegetables, and sweet and spicy foods.
- Geography also plays a role in millennial foodie preferences, with people from the West and East coasts, followed by Midwesterners, more like to have tried at least one trendy food compared to Southerners (88% from the West versus 79% from the South).
As for race, young African Americans were less likely than others to try many of the trendy foods, but more of them considered themselves foodies than other races. On the other hand, Asian were most likely to have tried a given trend, though they were least likely to self-identify as foodies.
The most-tried millennial foodie trends overall were sweet and spicy foods (40%), quinoa (36%), meals served in bowls (35%), craft beer (26%), artisan ice cream (24%), and cold brew coffee (20%). By this measure, McCormick accurately predicted in its 2016 Flavor Forecast that heat and tang would be among the most popular flavors this year.
While many of these trends proliferate in food and beverage startup culture, major manufacturers aren't always far behind. Unilever has made investments in its premium ice cream brands; Anheuser-Busch InBev has snapped up a number of craft brewers and co-launched a startup accelerator; and PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple have both signed partnership deals with cold brew coffee makers.
However, manufacturers targeting foodies shouldn't necessarily get caught up in only a millennial mindset. Sopexa's 2015 Foodie Study found that in the U.S., the average foodie was usually over the age of 35, putting them just above the age range for millennials.