When it comes to where food trends are going, it is not just Millennials who are shaping eating patterns. According to a new study, a group of consumers that crosses demographic lines is shaping the future of food. Meet “Gen Food.”
The report released by FleishmanHillard at the Culinary Institute of America’s re-Think Food conference, shows when it comes to food and nutrition, there are shared beliefs between and behaviors among Gen Z, Gen X, Millennials and Boomers.
Basically, food unites more than it divides. Just look at Thanksgiving.
“We call these cross-generational influencers ‘Gen Food’ because good defines them and is an important part of their values and belief system,” says Jamie Greenheck, global managing director of FleishmanHillard’s Food, Agriculture and Beverage practice. “They’re taking personal responsibility for improving the way we eat and drink, which provides a tremendous opportunity for brands looking to connect and drive action through food.”
Here are some of the takeaways from the report, which interviewed more than 2,000 people:
- 91% of respondents say food is an important part of their values and belief system.
- 35% say that food defines them.
- 79% feel it is their role and responsibility to share food information with others.
- 81% believe they can make a difference in the kinds of foods we eat and how they are grown.
- 78% have taken action to address food issues important to them—with reducing food waste emerging as their top priority.
- 60% say they bear the responsibility for improving what and how we eat, and that’s more than food companies, government entities or health professionals.
According to Greenheck, these results have “profound implications” for food, agriculture and beverage companies.
“Speaking Gen Food’s language and understanding their values is important to having relevant conversations about everything from sustainable nutrition to agricultural practices and food waste,” he says. That also means it is vital to focus on what is new in food, because “innovation becomes the primary drivers of food choice.”
Another key tip that most gourmet stores (or any store that gives out free samples) would agree with is that “companies should make it easy for consumers to participate and contribute to a better, more responsible food system.”