24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Nutrition
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
AHA News: A Nutritious Side Dish to Grill This Memorial DayAHA News: Cooking More at Home? Diverse Food Cultures Can Expand Heart-Healthy MenuEven One High-Fat Meal May Dull Your MindToo Many Sugary Sodas Might Harm Your KidneysCan Fruits, Tea Help Fend Off Alzheimer's Disease?More Evidence Sugary Drinks Harm Women's HeartsIn COVID Crisis, Nearly Half of People in Some U.S. States Are Going HungryNavigating the Grocery Store SafelyOn Some Farms, Washing Machines Give Leafy Greens a Spin -- But Is That Safe?Coffee May Do a Heart Good, as Long as It's FilteredPotato & Sausages, Cold Cuts a Bad Combo for Your BrainTips for Safe Grocery ShoppingWhich Foods Might Reduce Your Odds for Dementia?High-Fiber Diets May Lower Odds for Breast CancerMission Possible: Tips for Safe Grocery Shopping During the PandemicDon't Worry About U.S. Food Supply, FDA SaysAHA News: Is This Nature's Healthier Meat Replacement?AHA News: If You Think Before You Snack, It's Not So BadCooking Up a Storm During Coronavirus Crisis? Store Leftovers SafelyU.S. Kids, Teens Eating Better But Nutrition Gaps PersistTurning to Tofu Might Help the Heart: StudyEating Fish in Moderation During Pregnancy Benefits Fetus: StudyDon't Abandon Healthy Eating During Coronavirus PandemicFor Heart Health, Not All Plant-Based Diets Are Equal: StudyTrying the Keto Diet? Watch Out for the 'Keto Flu'How to Understand New Food LabelsWill a Jolt of Java Get Your Creative Juices Flowing?Post-Game Snacks May Undo Calorie-Burning Benefit of Kids' SportsOlive Oil Could Help Lower Your Heart Disease RiskMore Evidence That Ditching Red Meat Is Good for Your HeartUnscrambling the Egg Data: One a Day Looks OKAHA News: How Millennials' Notions on Food Are Changing the Entire SystemWant Your Kids to Eat Veggies? Both Parents Must Set ExampleBig Breakfast May Be the Most Slimming Meal of the DaySugary Sodas Wreak Havoc With Cholesterol Levels, Harming the HeartChicago's Short-Lived 'Soda Tax' Cut Consumption, Boosted Health Care FundsMealtime Choices Could Affect Your Odds for StrokeAHA News: This Meaty Jambalaya Takes the Fat Out of Fat TuesdayMany Americans Lack Knowledge, Not Desire, to Eat Plant-Based DietsHealthy 'Mediterranean Diet' Is Good for Your MicrobiomeConsumers Waste Twice as Much Food as Experts ThoughtHow Does Social Media Shape Your Food Choices?Why Some High-Fiber Diets Cause Gas -- And What to Do About ItMeat Still Isn't Healthy, Study ConfirmsOne Egg Per Day Is Heart-Healthy, After AllAHA News: A Sweet Super Bowl Treat That Won't Sack Your HealthWant Fewer UTIs? Go Vegetarian, Study SuggestsDiets Rich in Fruits, Veggies Could Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sAHA News: Processed vs. Ultra-Processed Food, and Why It Matters to Your HealthEating Out: A Recipe for Poor Nutrition, Study Finds
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Wellness and Personal Development

AHA News: How Millennials' Notions on Food Are Changing the Entire System


HealthDay News
Updated: Mar 4th 2020

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- Like the baby boomers before them, millennials tend to do things their own way, and that's not just a reference to their often-stereotyped love of avocado toast.

Surveys have shown the generation born between 1981 and 1996 – people aged 24 to 39 at the end of 2020 – favor organic foods, dine out more often and value convenience.

How will their distinct food and dining preferences change the food industry? If 27-year-old Laura Godenick has anything to say about it, the result will be healthier and more sustainable.

A third-generation vegetarian, Godenick grew up eating a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables. That was more difficult at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she was disappointed by the campus cafeteria's limited vegetarian options and lack of transparency about where the ingredients were sourced.

Seeking to make change, Godenick co-founded a local chapter of The Real Food Challenge. The organization trains students to lead campaigns to increase the number of sustainable, local, humane and fair food sources available on campus. They wanted to shift 20% of USC's cafeteria purchasing in that direction.

"If we can change our food system on a university level, then we can do it in other institutions as well," Godenick said. "We the people who are eating the food should be in control of the food that we consume."

It's a sentiment shared by many of her peers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials have nearly surpassed the baby boomers in buying power. The way they are wielding that power is rippling throughout the entire food system.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report found millennials dine out at restaurants about 30% more often than older people, the vast majority at least once per week.

Millennials also have embraced fast-casual concepts, a hybrid between fast food and sit-down restaurants that often offer more customization and healthier foods at a lower price point.

Meal delivery apps are likewise growing in popularity. Indeed, the National Restaurant Association found 67% of millennials are more likely to order from places that offer home delivery.

That might explain why millennials frequent grocery stores less often than other generations and spend less money on food at home generally.

That's not necessarily good for public health, said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City.

"Restaurant meals are usually saltier and higher in saturated fat than foods prepared at home," St-Onge said.

In addition, the USDA reported that while millennials buy less grain, white meat and red meat than other generations, they spend more on prepared foods, pasta and sweets. That worries St-Onge.

"If you have a well-balanced diet, it's OK once in a while to have some cake or a treat," she said. "But hypertension is rampant, people have elevated cholesterol levels and Type 2 diabetes is occurring at earlier and earlier ages."

On the other hand, millennials eat more fresh and frozen vegetables than other generations. In fact, a 2017 study found millennial parents buy more organic food than any other cohort.

One recent study found 26% of millennials are either vegetarian or vegan, and 34% of meat-eating millennials eat at least four vegetarian dinners each week.

"Whether organic or non-organic, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables will have a good impact on health in general," St-Onge said.

Start-up companies are responding by developing convincing plant-based meat substitutes, some of which claim to have a smaller carbon footprint than a real beef burger.

Established food companies also are getting into the game, investing in plant-based alternatives to meat, chicken and dairy products.

Restaurants are changing too.

A vast majority of adults polled by the National Restaurant Association believed today's menus offered healthier options than in past years.

While the overall health impacts are not clear, innovations to the food system have increased the diversity of the food supply and resulted in people buying more healthy foods, according to a recent science advisory from the American Heart Association.

"Any move towards a healthier product in the food supply is a good thing for public health," St-Onge said.

Godenick shares that sentiment. While The Real Food Challenge did not achieve their goals during her time at USC, she believes raising awareness about sustainability will ultimately pay off in a healthier and more transparent food system. "It's a long-term goal," she said.

After graduating from college, she moved to Salt Lake City and joined a permaculture collective that teaches its members about growing food sustainably and regeneratively. She quickly connected with other millennials who are embracing vegetarianism and plant-based foods.

"There is a shift happening for sure," Godenick said. "Millennials care more about where their food is coming from, and that's a good thing on so many levels."