Gen Z & Millennials’ 20 Favorite Things To Eat

Are Gen Z and Millennials living on avocado toast and fake meat burgers? Don’t believe the headlines—these are their actual favorite things to eat…

When we looked at the things that young consumers don’t regret spending money on, food ranked at the top of the list for all age groups. A lot of assumptions, and stereotypes, surround Gen Z and Millennials’ food preferences. Headlines about Gen Z refusing to eat meat are common—and of course, Millennials live on avocado toast. Some declare that both generations will only eat organic, all-natural foods. Of course, studying young consumers day in and day out, we know that their diet realities are much more nuanced. They may be trying to eat healthy on a more regular basis, but they still make room for indulgences (and fast food, gasp!).

In our recent survey on their cooking and diet habits, we asked young consumers about their diets, and found that 66% call their diet “unrestricted,” compared to the 44% who chose a specific limiting plan (gluten free, dairy free, vegan, etc.). Many explained that they watch what they eat, but don’t restrict or ban anything. In fact, most their favorite foods are far from health conscious. In that same survey, we asked 13-36-year-olds, “What is your absolute favorite thing to eat?” Their answers were, as expected, varied, but we organized them into a top 20 ranking of common dishes. Here are their favorites:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of foods that young consumers say are their favorites—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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