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…


Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?

The Newsfeed

“I think we have a tendency to think that the world revolves around us and what we want and having a hard time to live up to the standards of having/living a perfect life.”—Female, 22, WA

A new quiz app’s R-rated categories are capturing teens’ attention. FriendO is rising through the ranks of the app store, but not by following the Play Nice, PG strategy that took tbh viral. FriendO users move up their friends’ rankings boards as they answer questions about each other, proving their friendship. If someone sends the app to three friends, they unlock NSFW categories like MSFK (Marry, Sex, Friend, Kill). But people are worried that none of these categories are barred to young users. (Mashable)

TGI Fridays is adding Instagrammable milkshakes to their menu with “cascading toppings,” “suspiciously” similar to Black Tap’s infamous creations. The “Extreme” milkshakes “take dessert to the next level” with a seasonal option piled high with Christmas cookies, and a s’mores shake topped with marshmallows, Oreos, and graham cracker crumbs. If that’s not enough to get Millennials in the door of chain restaurants that they notoriously avoid, both shakes can be ordered “boozy” (a tactic we’ve seen before). (Grub Street)

Seventeen is creating an LGBTQ community for teens with their new, “social-first” platform, Here. Instagram and Facebook form the main hub of Here, along with a dedicated vertical on Seventeen itself. Launched less than a week ago, content is already popping up on social and the site. Seventeen is appealing to the Genreless Generation, and one editor said Here will be “a resource and a place for teens to express themselves.” (Fashionista)

Rising musician Tallia Storm says her Instagram paid for her debut album. Lauded by Sir Elton John and Nile Rodgers, 19-year-old Storm leveraged The Influencer Effect for her own gain: Her debut album, Teenage Tears, was entirely self-financed via her earnings as a “fashion ‘it girl’” and Instagram influencer with over 300,000 followers. As a result, she had full creative freedom and became a “part of the growing staple of acts who are not repped by a major label.” Oh, and she got to open for Sir Elton John. (PR Newswire)

Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner’s online-only beauty brand sensation, has teamed up with Topshop to drive young shoppers in-store. Brick-and-mortar is far from dead, with research from TABS Analytics showing 66% of shoppers prefer to purchase new cosmetics in-store—and brands like this one are betting on IRL retail. Kylie Cosmetics is now available at seven Topshop stores across the country for just five weeks, and they’re accruing long lines of fans to test out the coveted lip kits in person. (BuzzFeed)

“…[Rick and Morty] has our generation's sense of nihilism, fear of wasted time, humor in unpredictability, and shy optimism in human relations.”—Female, 17, TX

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies