Millennials in Transition: 2018 Trend Insight Report

January 5, 2018
Consumer Moms Trends

Born between the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, Millennials have been the must-watch generation for years. At 92 million strong and described as on-trend, tech-comfortable and often misunderstood, they are key influencers in the new wave of the food and beverage products hitting store shelves. From their more adventurous palates and rep as clean label connoisseurs, Millennials demand companies keep up with their ever-changing needs. Of note, this generation spends the most on prepared foods, meaning huge opportunity if their needs are met.


Millennials have reached a turning point and are achieving major milestones. From graduating college, getting married and having children, and the oldest of the Millennials are turning forty in 2018. Many are headed down a new path in life and reconsidering their purchase habits. Focusing on health, feeding their families on a budget and all while keeping up with their adventurous palates — it can cause one to reassess how they are stocking the pantry.

As a Millennial parent, their passion and appreciation for food is infused into their parenting styles. Cooking as a family is an opportunity to teach and bond with their children and even spark creativity in adventurous learners. Products like Kidstir’s monthly subscription kit is geared towards children and provides step-by-step recipes, kid-sized cooking tools and fun in the kitchen creating the next generation of foodies. But it’s not always fun and games, at the end of the day Millennial parents put health as a greater priority over fun when it comes to food.


  • 52% of organic consumers are Millennials

  • 47% of Millennials are buying more organic foods than they were one year ago

  • 34% of Millennials feel better about themselves when they purchase organic foods

  • 27% of Millennials trust that foods labeled organic are actually organic

Top Millennial Food & Beverage Brands

  • San Pellegrino

  • Angie’s Snacks

  • Haribo

  • Duncan Hines

  • Bertolli Frozen Foods

  • Nespresso

  • Poland Spring

  • Starbuck’s

  • Yoplait

  • Noosa

Source: Condé Nast and Goldman Sachs

You Are What You Eat

For Millennials, food is a connection to their identity not just about the nutritional aspect. While taste and quality are the top two attributes important to Millennials when purchasing healthy foods and beverages, they are not extremely healthy eaters as we once thought. Millennials are indeed very savvy in understanding what is healthy and with 79% of Millennials paying attention to the ingredients on food labels. Millennials have the knowledge, however their decisions are also driven by price.

Convenience is also key for Millennials as they are in search of ways to make their lives easier. They are driving the meal kit delivery phenomenon and 65% of Millennials are interested in delivery subscription services offering ingredient kits for “homemade” meal solutions. An array of meal kit services are available today from companies like Blue Apron, Home Chef and even Martha Stewart”s version, Martha & Marley Spoon, which offers a Thanksgiving dinner kit, with a brown sugar glazed turkey and all the fixings for a Martha-worthy dinner without ever leaving your home.
83% OF MILLENNIALS agree that a home cooked meal is healthier than a meal from a restaurant -Mintel

72% OF Hispanic Millennials are buying healthier foods than one year ago -Mintel

NATURAL is the top claim Millennials associate with healthy foods

Dining Around

If you have spent any time with Millennials, you very well may know that documenting their life through pictures is essential, so it comes as no surprise that 69% of Millennials are taking pictures their food before eating it. For Millennials, eating out is more than just that — it is an experience. From seeking innovative flavors and global mashups, Millennials are all about creating an experience they will remember.

Of all the generations, Millennials are spending the most at restaurants with 24% of their yearly income dedicated to dining out. Quick service restaurants are targeting Millennials through unique campaigns like emoji ordering from Domino’s Pizza; McDonald’s launch of all-day breakfast and adding flavors like sriracha to the menu; and lastly Arby’s “we have the meats” campaign which is correlating to the surge in the share of millennials visiting their restaurants with growth of 38% to 54% in just two years.

"More and more, Millennials want their food choices to fit into the ideal image they strive to portray—one that shows their social consciousness, sense of community, concern for health and wellness, and demand for quality and value." -The Robin Report

69% OF MILLENNIALS take pictures of their food before eating -Mintel

40% OF MILLENNIALS are interested in innovative flavors & Global Mashups on the menu -Mintel+


Are your products keeping up with the ever-changing Millennial consumer? Keep in mind that Millennials spend more of their income on prepared food than any other generation, according to the USDA. That means huge opportunity, if your brand and product is able to strike the right chord with this essential consumer group. As this group moves forward into different life stages (marriage, kids and beyond), there are some key priorities, such as clean label and organic focus, nutrition emphasis and convenience. Generally, Millennials are image-conscious but be careful not to confuse that with snobbery. Value and quality are the key concepts to balance in your development.

Download the full report here. 

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Sources: Mintel Reports, The Robin Report, Condé Nast and Goldman Sachs, Nielsen, Iconoculture, New York Times, Forbes, Business Insider, The Balance, IFT/USDA