ACTIONABLE RESEARCH ON GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS
The 12 Biggest Food Trends Right Now, According to Millennials & Gen Z

The 12 Biggest Food Trends Right Now, According to Millennials & Gen Z

The sushiritto is so last year. Young foodies let us know what food trends they’ve been wanting to try lately, and health is the biggest theme…

How much do young consumers care about food? Three in five tell us that they would rather go to a food festival than a music festival, and over half say they would rather spend money on dinner in a new restaurant than a new outfit. In other words, food is a passion and a spending preference—which is why brands are constantly racing to keep up with their tastes.

About half of 13-35-year-olds would call themselves a foodie. While our data shows that Gen Z is currently less likely than Millennials to consider themselves a foodie, many are still turning to food as a pastime. FarmRich’s recent research found that 13-19-year-olds don’t just spend a lot of time thinking about and eating food but also consuming culinary digital content, with 46% getting inspired to cook by watching food-related shows. When we looked at these young consumers’ biggest passions, food came in at number three on the list, the same as Millennials.  

We’ve continued to keep tabs on the food trends that are tempting all young consumers the most—and it’s not easy to stay on the hot list. To keep on top of their biggest food interests, we look at the food trends they’re trying, but we also ask about the latest trends catching their attention. And when we asked Gen Z and Millennial self-identified foodies, “What is the biggest food trend you’ve been interested in recently?”* in our latest survey on cooking and food, we saw some major shifts from last years’ culinary trend ranking. Here are the 12 biggest food trends they tell us they want to try right now:

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of food trends that 13-54-year-olds foodies are interested in trying—without our preconceived ideas getting in the way. 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 the Biggest Food Trends They’re Interested In?

13-35-year-olds

  1. Organic ingredients
  2. Vegan/Vegetarian
  3. Avocado
  4. Elaborate/Unique desserts
  5. Black/Charcoal foods
  6. Specialty diets
  7. Healthy eating
  8. Poké
  9. Rolled ice cream
  10. Burgers
  11. Clean eating
  12. Food Trucks

While the top two trends young foodies were interested in trying last year were fusion foods and fancy/crazy desserts, the top spots in this years’ ranking are all about health. Organic ingredients is the top trend they are interested in, followed by vegan/vegetarian items.

We’ve already seen some surprising brands adding vegetarian and vegan options to their menu. According to Foodbeast, KFC is testing out a vegetarian version of its fried chicken in the U.K., while other fast food chains, like White Castle, have rolled out fake meat options at their franchises in response to vegetarian diets trending with young consumers. Impossible, the food pioneer behind “the burger that bleeds,” has been going mainstream as fake meat sales soar—largely driven by young consumers’ interest. The major theme of health-consciousness is no surprise, but the number of specialty diets focused on health and wellness, not just weight loss, that young consumers mentioned pushed the trend into the top ten this year. Diets mentioned included Keto, Peleo, Pegan (Peleo mixed with vegan), alkaline-based, and cleanses. Clean eating, which ranked 11 on the list, is of course its own kind of diet—all signifying that young consumers are more and more willing to seriously alter their eating habits, at least temporarily, to improve their health.

Charcoal/Black foods is one of the newer trends to make the list, and clearly “goth” treats have been catching young consumers’ eyes since they began to trend last year. Not only are the dark-hued dishes fun to Instagram, charcoal has become a trending ingredient in everything from beauty masks to lattes.

Food trucks continue to drop in the hot food trend ranking—not because they’re disappearing, but likely because they’ve become expected. A few of the trends-to-watch mentioned by multiple young foodies that didn’t make the top 10? Probiotics, cauliflower, turmeric, super foods, and Instapot meals.

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