- An increasing lifestyle trend among Millennials is they are adding more vegetables to their plate. According to a 2014 Harris Poll, 4% of consumers between the ages of 8-18 never eat any meat, seafood or poultry and 32% of them also eat one or more vegetarian meals per week.
- What’s the reason behind this sharp rise for younger consumers to join the vegetarian bandwagon? Books and films with persuasive environmentalism and political based arguments seem to have a large influence on younger consumers who are converting to a meatless diet. In contrast, older generations, such as the Boomers, typically choose a vegetarian diet to combat health concerns such as Heart Disease, Type 2 diabetes, Obesity and lowering their blood pressure.
- Sustainability continues to be a large concern not only for Millennials but also restaurants. Restaurants are catching onto this trend by offering more vegan and greener food items. In 2015, Ikea plans to introduce chicken and vegetarian versions of its Swedish meatballs that will have less of a carbon footprint. Also, Chipotle launched a vegan shredded and spiced tofu called Sofritas, which accounts for 4-5% of its sales.
- Young consumers aren’t solely just swapping meat for veggies. Plenty of Millennials and Gen We kids are abstaining from sugar and dairy as well. This trend among young consumers is likely due to their parents and documentaries, such as Fed Up, that expose how misleading the packaged food industry is with often large quantities of sugar hidden in processed foods.
- An increase in vegetarian and vegan lifestyles among young consumers reflects the growing concerns of health and wellness for future generations. Millennials are finding convenient ways to integrate natural and nutritious whole foods into their daily routine. They are reaching for foods that are as close to their natural state as possible with no artificial ingredients or chemicals.
- It is apparent that people are approaching health in a much more preventative way – between documentaries telling them that they’ll get x disease if they eat a certain way, seeing their parents deal with chronic conditions, and being uncertain about the cost of healthcare and reform, young adults are living in constant fear of the potential negative consequences of their health behaviors.
- Access to information and proliferation of available educational resources is dramatically shifting the consumer landscape. Consumers truly are in control – people power. There’s a sense of shared concern and empowerment amongst social groups to spread worthy information whenever they encounter it. Not all who see this information may care, but the more that are aware, the more that will eventually turn into action. As consumers demand information, companies will be forced to offer a greater level of transparency or leave it to the assumption of consumers that if you don’t provide information, you’re probably trying to hide something.
- These consumers value integrity and responsibility when it comes to the environment and the foods we eat. Restaurants are even adopting more sustainable ways to purchase and sell the food we eat. After all, adding more produce than meat to your diet shrinks not only your waistline but also the Earth’s carbon footprint.
- Millennials are inspiring other generations to seek a holistic approach when it comes to balanced eating for not only the long-term personal health benefits but also the wellness of a sustainable world for future generations to live in.