Report: What millennial eating habits actually look like
- Millennials are driving much of the health-consciousness and ingredient transparency impacting the food and beverage industry today, but they are not always models of "good health," according to data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
- Just over half of millennials (53%) said they "ate healthy all day yesterday," as compared to 59% of Generation X, 70% of baby boomers, and 84% of Traditionalists (born between 1900 and 1945). Half of millennials said they ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables for four out of the past seven days, compared to 57% of Gen X and 60% of baby boomers.
- Millennials also tend to be heavier drinkers, with 13% saying they consumed seven or more alcoholic beverages per week, versus 12% for Gen X and baby boomers.
Many millennials may not regularly eat fruits and vegetables, but instead of seeing that as a difficult or unapproachable target market, manufacturers can think of it as an opportunity for growth. Through innovative flavors, methods of preparation, packaging design, and other elements of the final product, manufacturers can make fruits and vegetables more appealing to this generation.
Alcoholic beverage makers can also tap millennials' drinking habits for new products. If millennials are drinking more frequently or more beverages in one sitting, this could drive session beverages, such as session beers and flavored malt beverages. These have a lower alcohol content and can be consumed over a longer period of time.
As millennials age, their weight management and eating habits will change. Manufacturers with this generation as a target market should maintain flexibility and listen to consumers through social media and other direct customer interactions to respond appropriately.
The report also demonstrates that millennials are still enticed by indulgences, which manufacturers can use to their advantage. Reformulating products to be better-for-you can be a costly investment and not always generate the expected return if the new product has a flavor, appearance, or texture that doesn't click. Focusing on the guilty pleasure aspects of a product or brand can be a better sales generator.
Millennials are also concerned about transparency. To target this generation, it won't be just about a product's look and flavor, but also about the company itself and those behind the product.