Each new generation introduces something new to the way usual things in our society work and millennials are no exception. As representatives of this technology-savvy generation become adults and start living on their own, it becomes evident that the way they eat and regard their food differs from their parents’ eating habits. Unlike the older generations of baby boomers and X generation, millennials tend to assign more social meaning to food-related experiences, are on the lookout for a new kind of restaurants, and are conscious of their health and of the environment when selecting their food.
In comparing the millennials and older generations eating habits, the first thing one notices is that millennials turn eating into a social experience whenever they can. While older generations also sometimes use meals as social occasions, especially during holidays, they do so only occasionally whereas millennials sare their restaurant visits and home cooked meals with their friends through social media. The major difference between millennials and older generations is that millennials treat food as an extension of their identity. Hence, posting a food picture or sharing their eating out experience makes an important statement about themselves, their interests, and values, while older generations regard eating as unworthy of public attention.
Food experience millennials are looking for is not the same as that valued by baby boomers. Namely, they tend to eat out more, and especially at places that offer a vivid taste or visual experience. They are more likely than other generations of adults to actively search for and try new foods. Millennials see food as a way to experience pleasure with their senses that are not stimulated by the digital world they spend so much time in. Thus, unlike older generations who looked for a place to eat, millennials look for exciting foods, beautiful interiors, and overall fun experience they can share and present in the light which contributes to their social identity. This leads to millennials having a higher preference for fast casual places over fast food as they offer better quality food, nicer atmosphere, while also catering the need to eat fast or on the go.
Previous generations did not eat as healthy as millennials try to. Compared to other generations of adults, millennials are the most conscious about maintaining their health and selecting healthier food options. This might be because they are the most educated and the most informed generation as of now. Hence, they tend to select healthier options when they eat out, skip added sugars, opt for vegetables, and avoid highly processed foods more often than representatives of older generations. Millennials are also more concerned about the environment which causes them to select organic and free range groceries more often than it is done by older Americans. Another difference between millennials and previous generations is that today’s young adults tend to consume less alcohol. The overall healthy eating trend is also reflected in the fact that compared to baby boomers and generation X, millennials prefer cooking from scratch instead of having a frozen meal when eating at home.
Drawing conclusions, eating habits of millennials are different from that of older generations. In contrast with previous generations, millennials have turned eating into a social experience which is worth sharing, discussing, and which communicates important information about one’s identity. Representatives of older generations and millennials look for different things in eating out. Unlike baby boomers and X generation, millennials look for bright, vivid, and exciting experiences worth sharing on their social media accounts. Lastly, a major difference between millennials and other generations is that today’s young adults are more conscious about nutritious value of the food they eat which is explained by their higher concern with health.