Generational Differences, Aging Dynamics to Influence Future of Eating: Study

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Generational Differences, Aging Dynamics to Influence Future of Eating: Study


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.

In the study, titled “A Look into The Future of Eating,” NPD’s food industry market research found that eating patterns over the next decade would 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,” said Ann Hanson, author of the report and director of product development at Port Washington, N.Y.-based 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, positioning 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-plate proteins (meat entrees), sweet snacks/desserts, and heat-and-eat breakfasts. Based on generational and aging influences, over the next decade, people in Generation Y are expected to be primary contributors to the forecasted growth in consumption of all of these food groups, with the exception of heat-and eat-breakfasts. Future kids under 10 years of age are expected to have more influence on consumption of this food group vs. the other foods.

The study provides a 10-year forecast of eating trends based on generational influences, population and trend momentum gathered from NPD’s 30 years of tracking America’s eating patterns. It covers a broad spectrum of food and beverage categories, preparation methods, meal situations, and other food-related behaviors.