Millennials are Driving Organic Food to New Heights

Millennials are Driving Organic Food to New HeightsColor us (not at all) surprised – the biggest group of organic food buyers are Millennial parents, according to a new survey by the Organic Trade Association.

The survey of 1,800 households across the nation found that more than half of parents who are buying organic food regularly are between the ages of 18 and 34, as compared to a little more than a third of Gen-Xers and 14 percent of Baby Boomers. And as more and more members of this generation become parents, the face of the food industry is changing to reflect their shopping habits.

“The Millennial shopper puts a high premium on the healthiness and quality of the food they choose for their families,” says Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association.

A large part of the Millennial desire to buy organic food likely has to do with this generation’s shift away from trust in advertising to trust in fellow shoppers. A generation that grew up with Facebook likes, YouTube comments, and Yelp reviews, Millennials, more than any other generation, look to their social circles – be they local or web – to find out what they should be buying. In other words, the more Millennials like organic food, the more Millennials will like organic food.

In fact, Kantar Retail predicts that in the next ten years, up to 50 percent of retailer innovation will be focused on fresh, local, organic, natural or healthy products, to reflect this growing trend.

Millennials don’t just like organic food — they also know a lot about it. Seventy-seven percent of Millennials surveyed reported that they were either well informed or knew quite a bit about organic food. And with that knowledge comes trust – 54 percent say that they have confidence in the label’s integrity, and nearly 60 percent say that they have a strong connection with the label.

We can’t be too surprised about this trend. After all, Millennials have grown up hearing about how healthy organic food is, and when it comes time to feed their families, Millennials, like anyone, want only the best.

“This generation has grown up eating organic, and seeing that organic label,” says Batcha. “It’s not surprising that they have a greater knowledge of what it means to be organic, and consequently a greater trust of the organic label.”

The survey also showed that forty percent of Millennials believe that choosing organic is an integral part of living green, as opposed to 32 percent of Gen Xers and 28 percent of Baby Boomers. Eco living is of increased importance to Millennials according to a 2015 Nielsen study, which showed that three out of every four Millennials deemed sustainable shopping important.

“(Millennials) are deeply committed to supporting a food system that sustains and nurtures the environment,” says Batcha.

When all of these factors come together, it’s no surprise that the newest generation of children are being nourished with an increased proportion of organic food; we can only assume that they’ll be passing the trend on.

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Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.