A new survey of American millennials found that their relationship to food is more unique than that of previous generations, as almost 6 in 10 of them (57%) currently subscribe to a special diet.
For those who follow a special diet, 44% do so because it’s better for the environment, while 37% say it’s more ethical.
Commissioned by vegetarian and plant-based food producer Sweet Earth Foods and conducted by OnePoll, the survey of 2,000 millennials looked at the trends and spends for millennial diets, examining their tastes and must-haves when it comes to food.
Millennials reportedly devote about a month and a half per year to food—the equivalent of 1,140 hours—time spent meal-prepping and cooking to eating out, according to the participants.
Results also found that millennials spend $2,242 at the grocery store and $1,672 dining out over the course of a year—averaging $187 and $139 per month, respectively—and they also try an average of 46 new foods.
Millennials reported making 17 tweaks or changes to their diet per year, with the top changes found to be eating healthier foods (46%), avoiding sugar/carbs (41%) and focusing more on plant-based foods (36%).
That’s in addition to one-third (34%) of participants who have cut down on their meat consumption.
A YEAR IN FOOD FOR MILLENNIALS INCLUDES…
• $2,242 spent at the grocery store and $1,672 spent at restaurants (eating out, delivery, etc.)
• 17 tweaks or changes to their diet
• 183 hours purchasing food, 238 hours prepping and planning meals, 326 hours cooking, 160 hours deciding where to eat and 233 hours eating food
• 46 new foods tried and 47 photos posted on social media
• 90 meals out (with friends or a date), 53 frozen meals, 41 dinner parties
A year in food for millennials also includes 41 dinner parties and eating out 90 times—split evenly between friends and with dates.
Still, not all millennials are choosing to eat out. Some are held back from eating out more often because of a lack of time (37%) or because of a lack of money (37%), while 42% of millennials report eating healthier when they cook for themselves.
Three-quarters (74%) of those on a special diet find it more difficult to eat at restaurants—and 59% of respondents feel like there’s judgment to ordering and buying foods that subscribe to a special diet.
When millennials prepare meals at home, they find food inspiration from a variety of sources, with their friends (49%), parents (46%) and cookbooks (44%) in the top three—beating out more modern methods of finding recommendations, such as social media.
CHANGES MILLENNIALS HAVE MADE TO THEIR DIETS IN THE PAST YEAR
1. Tried to eat healthier foods 46%
2. Avoided sugar/carbs 41%
3. Focused more on plant-based foods 36%
4. Had alcohol-free weeks or months 34%
5. Cut down on meat consumption 34%
Additionally, when it comes to what they eat, millennials’ top priorities are cost (48%), having it be full of nutrients (46%) and no artificial additives in their food (40%).
This is followed by organic food (39%) and having it be plant-based (37%).
“Finding delicious plant-based food should be easy and affordable,” said Kelly Swette, CEO and Co-Founder of Sweet Earth. “Bonus points if it’s easy to prepare and good for the environment. We know millennials are smart and health-conscious and we think their changing tastes reflect our mission of sustaining the land and a healthy body, and cultivating a curious mind and palate.”
REASONS TO FOLLOW A SPECIAL DIET
1. Healthier for my body 67%
2. Working to lose weight 53%
3. Concerns about health problems/illnesses 48%
4. Better for the environment/more sustainable 44%
5. More ethical 37%
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