Generation Y, or “Millennials” as they are better known, sometimes get a tough rap. People ages 18-34 have been called “entitled,” “coddled,” and worse. In reality, millennials are more likely to volunteer and become involved in activism than their parents, which makes them the most generous generation. They also love good food, which pushes against the stereotype of a 20-something stuffing his face with chips and pizza 24/7. Many young people describe themselves as “foodies” and fill social media with pictures of their meals. Where are they spending their money? What are they eating?
There’s a common belief that millennials are totally out-of-place in the kitchen, and that’s somewhat true, especially when you consider how many of these young people live with parents for financial reasons. Many millennials rely on food that comes from a can and food that can be microwaved. A possible reason for this is that these foods are fast and cheap, which is a huge priority for a generation that is very busy with work, school, friends, or more frequently, a chaotic combination of all three. For those who say millennials need to learn to cook so they can feed their families, millennials are marrying later than their parents, so cooking is not an urgent undertaking. This is a huge shift from when girls and women were pressured to learn how to cook at an earlier age, because they “needed” to be able to take care of a husband and kids.
When it comes to buying food, millennials are more likely to treat themselves to speciality items and organic brands. They’re also way more likely to experiment with new foods than their parents, and prefer to frequent independent shops like bakeries and butcheries. With dining out, most millennials look for good deals. However, they also like to go out to eateries defined as “upscale casual-dining” and spend a little more. They have a strong sense of optimism, so even if they spend a good chunk of their paycheck on food, they’re confident their financial situation is going to get better. There’s a lot of diversity within the millennial generation when it comes to food, so food brands and restaurants need to do their research well if they want to appeal to society’s misunderstood majority.