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Millennials, Gen Z & food: trends and truths

Are young people really spending their money on food fads? Have they all gone vegan? This month we explore the topic of young people and food, with a downloadable e-book sharing the top three trends we’ve identified in this area. Regardless of whether you’re in the food business, this is a core part of young people’s lives, and one that youth marketers can't afford to skip.

Josephine Hansom VP Youth 24/06/2021
Eating out is as important as music to young people

It’s a well-worn stereotype that Millennials spend their weekend Instagramming pictures of their flat whites and buying up all the avocados in the supermarket. But these stereotypical depictions of young people and their eating habits don’t really wash anymore – indeed, when we asked them in our State of the Youth Nation tracker, two thirds said they prefer tea over coffee. So believing these stereotypes about young people means you don’t know them well at all.

So what’s really going on with food in youth culture right now?

Food is the new rock and roll

According to our proprietary State of the Youth Nation data, eating out is as important as music to young people. In fact, three quarters of young people spend money on eating out in restaurants or getting fast food every month (it’s only one third who spend money on music). That’s a massive amount of young people who are choosing to spend their leisure time and money on food – it’s not just a necessity, it’s a real interest.

Given that eating out is such an important part of their social life, it is no surprise that food and drink choices are increasingly key to identity and self-expression. There are groups of young people who see food as a major, personality defining interest, and food tribes have emerged as a result (think the clean-eating vegans, the protein gym bros or the craft beer aficionados).

A quick search for #veganlife on Instagram reveals 4.2 million posts.

If you are looking to reach young people in the places where they really hang out, you can’t afford to ignore these food-related trends. With so much disposable income and free time spent around food, understanding what it means to young people is crucial to brands who are looking to engage with them in their world. Read on to get our three big food trends in youth culture and how they can help you reach this key audience.

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Audience market segmentation | Consumer Brands | Eating & Drinking | Market sizing & trends | Market understanding & opportunity | Usage & Attitudes | Volumetrics & Forecasting | Youth | Youth

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