Millennial women are increasingly interested in global flavors and foods, according to Food Factor 2018, a nationwide survey from magazine Better Homes & Gardens. At the same time, they are dedicated to sourcing local ingredients and regularly cooking at home.
A majority of respondents reported they eat dinner at home at least four nights per week, and they try new recipes every month. About 80% said they like to cook regional or ethnic foods. More than half of those surveyed said they eat more locally grown or produced food now than two years ago, and about a third said that they’ve grown produce at home in the past year.
- Nancy Hopkins, food editor at Better Homes & Gardens, said in a statement that millennials have emerged as a curious, adventurous generation of home cooks. “They are breaking away from the norm and seeking diverse, global foods. But while they are cooking with global flavors, their focus is on staying local — sourcing local ingredients and serving friends and family in the comfort of their homes.”
Perhaps most notable is that 93% of millennials surveyed cook at home more than half of the week. Millennials are drawn to the convenience and ease of online ordering and food delivery, so what is driving the rise in home cooking?
For one, the prevalence of online grocery shopping and delivery has made it easier for millennials to search for and purchase unique ingredients that they can use to cook for themselves. Additionally, prepared food items from grocery stores expose millennials to new dishes that they can replicate at home. The current popularity of meal kit services, which curate and deliver a suite of globally inspired recipes, has also inspired millennials to cook more frequently in their own kitchens and experiment with ethnic ingredients and flavors.
The demand for local ingredients is expected, since about 43% of millennials don’t trust big food brands, according to Mintel, and want to know exactly what is in their food. And eating locally tends to support a sustainable lifestyle — something else millennials value. Millennials may supplement their preference for ethnic foods with homegrown produce or a trip to their nearest farmers market.
Survey findings are encouraging for retailers. Through prepared food and deli items, grocers can continue to introduce millennial customers to new flavors that will influence home cooking, and stock store shelves with complementary brands and products. Grocers can also apply these insights to shape the online grocery purchasing experience. For example, e-commerce sites and apps can be built on easily shoppable product categories such as recipe ideas, locally grown products and global flavors.
To capture millennial market share, large manufacturers may need to acquire brands that align with millennial shoppers. Amy’s Kitchen, for example, checks several boxes for millennials, with convenient frozen meals and canned soups that are organic, non-GMO and locally sourced, when possible. Amy’s dishes span global cuisines such as Indian, Mexican and Thai.
Of course, while the 75 million millennials make up an essential demographic among today’s shoppers, food manufacturers and retailers should be strategic in adjusting their offerings to meet their demands. Given the incoming buying power of Gen Z, millennials won’t be the only ones influencing future food trends.