Thursday, October 25, 2018

Millennial Food Purchasing Patterns

Millennials purchase food differently than older generations, according to a study by the USDA's Economic Research Service. Some of the differences are age related but some may be a sign of changing food preferences, the study suggests. Here are some of the differences...

  • Millennials are least likely to eat at home on an average day. Only 36 percent of Millennial eating occasions occur at home on an average day. Among Gen Xers the figure is 39 percent, Boomers 41 percent, and older Americans 50 percent. 
  • Millennials are most likely to purchase fast food during an average week. In the past week, 62 percent of Millennials had purchased prepared food from a fast-food restaurant, carry-out, or food delivery, the study reports. This compares with 56 percent of Gen Xers, 59 percent of Boomers, and 47 percent of older Americans. 
  • Millennials make the fewest trips to food stores during an average month. Millennial households visit food stores an average of 5.33 times per month. Frequency rises with age. Gen Xers make 6.27 visits to food stores per month, Boomers 7.33, and older Americans 7.78.
  • Millennials spend less than other generations on groceries. Millennials spend $94 per capita on groceries during an average month. Gen Xers spend $102, Boomers $144, and older Americans $159. Regardless of income level, Millennials spend less per capita on groceries than older generations. 
  • Millennial grocery shoppers allocate a larger share of their food dollar to prepared food. When Millennial households shop for groceries, they devote 7.48 percent of their grocery dollar to prepared food. The older generations devote less than 7 percent to prepared food. The USDA defines prepared food as food that requires minimal or no preparation after purchase, such as sandwiches and salads from the grocery deli, prepared chicken, frozen pizza, and so on. 

The food shopping patterns of Millennials are shaped by the fact that most are young adults, the study notes. But there are indications that Millennials have unique food preferences. After controlling for income, for example, the per capita spending of Millennials on fruit matches the spending of older Americans—who are the biggest spenders on fruit. As the income of Millennials rises, their per capita spending on vegetables also rises. "The Millennial generation may have a stronger preference for fruits and vegetables compared to older generations," the study concludes. Another difference: Millennials may have "become accustomed to consuming foods requiring minimal preparation effort."

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Food Purchase Decisions of Millennial Households Compared to Other Generations

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