A recent IRI survey, Early View 2019: Food & Beverage Trends, reveals which generations allow wiggle room in their grocery budget and also reinforces well-documented evidence of plant-based eating and sustainability being top of mind for today’s consumers.

Younger Millennials more open to expanding their food budget

Younger Millennials, or those born after 1990, aren’t shy about spending money on food — especially compared to Boomers and other retirees.

Joan Driggs, VP of Content and Thought Leadership for IRI, comments, “Younger millennials have been lulled by the historically low unemployment rates…At the other end of the spectrum, many Baby Boomers, retirees, and seniors are concerned about their retirement savings due [to] the volatile stock market this year.”

The survey dug into how generations are spending and saving.

Comparing spending between March 2018 and March 2019, spending dollars fluctuated significantly:

  • Younger Millennials: + 21.5%
  • Retirees and seniors: – 3.8%

This isn’t to say younger Millennials don’t seek out ways to stretch their pennies. Consumers of all ages are embracing a number of cost-saving habits to combat tightening grocery budgets. Buying private label is the favored money-saving tactic across the board.

Younger Millennials Older Millennials Gen X Younger Boomers Older Boomers Retirees and Seniors
Buy private label 74% 88% 87% 83% 79% 77%
Try new, lower-priced brand 70% 80% 79% 73% 69% 59%
Visit multiple retailers 60% 61% 57% 57% 54% 48%
Download coupons from retailer/manufacturer website 46% 62% 60% 56% 48% 39%

 

Plant-based eating is more than a fad

It’s impossible to ignore the hype surrounding plant-based eating, and IRI’s analysis provides yet another set of data that the trend is taking off and is poised to transform the food industry.

  • Nearly 80% of Millennials eat meat alternatives.
  • About 30% of Millennials are trying to eat more of a plant-based diet.
  • Nearly 60% of customers are interested in eating less meat.
  • More than 50% of people say their ideal meal would consist of more plant-based food.

Sustainably-sourced food is top of mind

Consumers have been increasingly seeking out sustainably sourced food — the sales numbers prove it. In 2018, sustainably marketed products delivered $113.9 billion in sales, up 29% from 2013. Experts predict that by 2023, sales will exceed $140 billion.

More findings

  • The U.S. economy grew in Q1 2019, but nearly half of the population still endures financial hardship.
  • Food inflation was modest in Q1, up only 1.7% over Q1 2018.
  • Fruits and vegetables and nonalcoholic beverages saw the highest rates of inflation from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, up 2.7% and 2.5%, respectively.

This unique cocktail of trends holds the door of opportunity wide open for CPG companies, especially when it comes to marketing to Millennials — a group with enormous buying power —  and innovating to create healthy, sustainable product offerings that consumers crave.

Further reading on trends shaping the food industry: