Millennials & Gen Z’s 20 Favorite Food Brands Right Now

May 04 2017

Their food influence goes beyond trends. We asked 1000 13-34-year-olds to tell us what their favorite food brand is to find out what they are right now…

We weren’t surprised to see food as a top passion amongst Millennials and Gen Z when we asked them about their biggest interests. These young consumers are food obsessed, and likely to consider themselves foodies. But their love of food isn’t just about Instagrammable desserts, rainbow plates, and sushi donuts. These generations are also picking up their favorites—or influencing mom and dad’s choices—in stores, so the brands on the shelf that they feel connected to matter. And how they choose those brands is more complex than just price. As we heard from Mondelēz International at Millennial 20/20 London today, “People think it’s very rational or quick, price oriented, all what is being scanned on the shelf. But there are lots of reasons, ration and emotional, embedded or learned, of why you buy something. There’s more to it than shallow rational stuff that’s going on in your head.”

To get to the root of some of those complex reasons, and continue our brand tracking in the food space, our recent Millennial and Gen Z research on grocery shopping behavior asked young consumers 13-34-years-old, “Thinking of products that you buy in a grocery store, what is your favorite food brand?”*—and why those are their favorites. Here are their top responses, in order of popularity:

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of food brands that 13-34-year-olds say are their favorites. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The list is ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

What Are Their Favorite Food Brands?

13-34-year-olds

  1. Kraft
  2. Kellogg’s
  3. Trader Joe’s
  4. Walmart/Great Value
  5. General Mills
  6. Generic/Store Brand
  7. Kroger Store Brands
  8. Doritos
  9. Nabisco
  10. Lay’s
  11. Annie’s
  12. Nestlé
  13. Amy’s
  14. Cheetos
  15. Oreo
  16. Chobani
  17. Pepsi
  18. Hershey’s
  19. Kashi
  20. Kirkland

Kraft was the number one favorite food brand, for the second year in a row, followed by Kellogg’s and Trader Joes. As we saw last year, mac and cheese was a recurring reason that young consumers named the brand – and in fact, their association with cheese in general might be helping them out. One 24-year-old female told us she named Kraft because, “Most of their products include cheese which I love.” The childhood memories of mac and cheese are also helping the brand here—many Millennials mention that they ate the product growing up, so count it as a favorite today as well. One female respondent simply said, “Good quality. Nostalgia.” Interestingly, this nostalgia factor may be behind the difference in ranking we see between Millennials and Gen Z:

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While Kraft leads the list for both male and female 13-34-year-olds, Millennials were more likely to name the brand as a favorite than Gen Z. It is still in their top five ranking, to be sure, but Doritos claims their number one spot, driven by male responses. As time goes on, the question may become whether the brand has done enough to become a nostalgia staple for Gen Z as well.  

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.