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5 Millennial-Fueled Food Trends


5 Millennial-Fueled Food Trends

Millennials, the “demanding but trendsetting” consumer group, accounting for 69 million US adults currently 18 – 34, has a profound influence on the foodservice landscape, said David Sprinkle, publisher and research director for Packaged Facts, in a recent report.

“Demanding what you want, how you do and don’t want it, and when you want it are hallmarks of Millennials,” Mr. Sprinkle said.

In the report, Packaged Facts outlined five Millennial-fueled trends gaining momentum on menus.

Mashups – Food trucks, pop-up restaurants and limited-time menu offerings are “cutting-edge experimental labs” for mashup innovation, Packaged Facts said.

“Taking up where fusion left off, the sky is the limit for the mashup trend, including a growing opportunity for consumers to get involved in the creation of the newest crazy-mixed-up food or beverage.”

Customization – Create-your-own concepts appeal to Millennial desires for fresh, handcrafted meals with unlimited combinations and flexibility for special diets. The build-your-own trend has spread from burgers, burritos and sandwiches to pizzas, stir-fry, salads and sushi.

“Salad bars and self-service hot food stations set the stage in both foodservice and retail for a full-fledged customized dining lifestyle,” Mr. Sprinkle said. “Once customers get a taste of customization, they won’t look back.”

Munchies – Gas station staples are going gourmet; think beef jerky with natural ingredients or potato chips with ethnic spices.

“With 35% of Millennials trending toward snacks as meal replacements, munchies are now expected to be healthful, flavorful and portable,” Mr. Sprinkle said.

On menus, the rise in snacking has translated to growth in miniature portions, ‘dippable’ appetizers and desserts, and handheld eats.

Bowls – Bowls are booming on menus, offering customization, creativity and often a cultural dining experience. Ramen and pho have grown 135% and 44%, respectively, on menus since 2010, according to Packaged Facts. The format also is accessible across dayparts, from smoothie bowls to breakfast to broth bowls at lunch to rice bowls at dinners.

“Burgers may still be king, but bowls are fasts becoming the preferred vessel for everything from rice, noodles and salad to quinoa, acai and poke,” Mr. Sprinkle said.

Shrubs and digestives – Driven by a growing focus on gut health and an interest in craft beverages, drinking vinegars are making a splash. Shrubs and digestives may be used as cocktail mixers or in reductions or salad dressings, Packaged Facts said. The trend feeds into an increasing appetite for fermented foods, including kimchi and pickled vegetables.

“As consumers become more interested in probiotics, shrubs and digestives have taken on new life in the market as beverages, mixers, and flavoring agents,” Mr. Sprinkle said.

Source: Culinology