What Millennials & Gen Z Really Eat, In 5 Stats

What are young consumers eating in a typical week? We looked beyond food trends to find out about their actual eating habits, from the meals they’re missing to the food they really want.

We’ve talked about the food trends Millennials are interested in, and how food is a passion for both generations, but the reality of young consumers’ day-to-day dining isn’t all food trucks and rainbow smoothie bowls. Though social media has made food a pop culture phenomenon, it’s of course also a series of daily decisions, plates grabbed on the go, meals cooked after work or leftovers eaten at desks, and at school. The majority of the food they buy and eat isn’t a glamorous Instagram shot—so beyond the trends and foodie interests, we continue to keep tabs on what Millennials and Gen Z really eat. (Including their favorite food brands, which include some college dorm staples.) Our most recent cooking and food trends survey included questions on the meals they have regularly and the foods they’re having on a typical day. Here are five stats from that research to give you some clues about how young consumers really eat today:

1. Only a quarter of Millennials & Gen Z eat three meals a day.

Three square meals a day is not a reality for the majority of young consumers, with our data showing that only 25% of 13-34-year-olds are eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a typical weekday. Males 13-34-years-old were far more likely than females to say they eat all three. The most popular meal among all groups is dinner, and breakfast is the least, with less than three quarters saying it’s a typical weekday meal for them. Interestingly, on the weekend, the number who eat lunch and breakfast actually drop while consumption of nighttime snacks, dessert, and brunch increase. 

2. Three in four Millennials & Gen Z…

 
 

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“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

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Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

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