salad bar
Top view of salad bar with assortment of ingredients

Choosing between scrambled and over easy eggs used to be the extent of meal customization in the American restaurant industry. But thanks to Millennials, those days are long gone. According to a recent report from Packaged Facts, the generation’s hunger for customizable goods is impacting the entire food industry.

It’s not just pizza, burgers, and burritos that are getting the DIY treatment. Since Millennials tend to favor healthy, fresh ingredients, the restaurant and meal kit industries are branching out to offer more customizable options.

Salads have become a popular customizable meal on menus, especially since the versatile dish can be tailored to accommodate specialized diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free). Stir fry, sushi, and other Asian-inspired dishes are also an emerging favorite in the made-to-order space. As a result, cuisine authenticity is starting to play second fiddle to flavor experimentation. Along the same lines, less familiar flavors derived from places like India and Korea are also getting in on the action. According to the Packaged Facts report, customers enjoy being able to try new ingredients while still having control over the context.

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Brands who value sustainability, community-building, and social consciousness — all things Millennials hold near and dear to their hearts — are quickly catching onto the customized meal trend. Packaged Facts specifically mentions Tossed, Sweetgreen, and Mean Greens, but they note that the pattern is extending past fast-casual restaurants into fine dining and even food retail.