Future Dining Trends: Aging and Generational Preferences Will Shape Dining Patterns

Each generation will make a distinctive mark on how and what Americans will be eating 10 years from now, according to a new study by the NPD Group.

Titled “A Look Into The Future of Eating,” NPD’s food industry market research found that eating patterns over the next decade will be influenced by the behaviors that occur with aging and the differences in preferences from one generation to another.

“As the different generations age over the next decade, corresponding changes in their life stage will have a major impact on what and how they eat,” says Ann Hanson, author of the report and director of product development at NPD. “Understanding the effect of aging on the various generations’ eating habits and preferences helps food and beverage companies develop long-range plans in terms of their overall product portfolio, position, and innovation.”

Based on the impact of age dynamics, trend momentum (prior and current eating patterns), and population growth, the top five food groups expected to increase in consumption are salty/savory snacks, easy meals, center-of-the-plate proteins (meat entrees), sweet snacks/desserts, and heat-and-eat breakfasts. Citing generational and aging influences over the next decade, NPD predicts that people in Generation Y will be primary contributors to the forecasted growth in consumption of all these food groups except heat-and-eat breakfasts. Future kids less than 10 years old, meanwhile, are expected to have more influence on the consumption of this food group compared to the other foods.
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