A new study says Millennials -- the 30-somethings among us -- spend less time preparing food and more money eating in restaurants or buying already prepared foods than other generations, while at the same time putting in less time at work.
What does that say about this rising generation that is slowly but surely gaining power in business and politics? That they're lazy? Spoiled? Maybe it just says they're smart.
Whatever, the report, "The Millennial Menu", by investment management and research firm Alliance Bernstein, says that nearly two-thirds of Millennials purchase prepared foods from some sort of limited-service restaurant every week.
“Millennials spend far less time on food prep than older generations do – despite the fact that they work the fewest number of hours per week, even fewer than traditionalists, many of whom are retirement aged,” the report said. “It is not surprising to find then, that Millennials allocate the highest share of their food budgets to prepared food, 7.5% versus 6.6-6.9% for the other generations.”
According to this article in Supermarket News, which reported on the study, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that 2018 will be the first year in which Millennials surpass Baby Boomers as the generation with the highest spending power.
Thus, the article concludes, supermarkets need to step up their game in providing convenient, wholesome and tasty prepared foods to cater to these well-heeled, willing-to-spend consumers who apparently simply don't like to cook.
As I read that article, I found myself identifying with these folks. Jackie and I are retired now, and while our income isn't what it used to be, we find ourselves eating out at least once a week and often having already prepared entrees purchased in the local supermarket for dinner. Fried chicken and ready-to-cook crab cakes are examples.
Of course there are the old standbys of pizza and Chinese carryout, too. Don't know if it counts, but tonight we're having fried frozen shrimp, mac'n cheese and a salad-- not exactly healthy, but at least it's quick and easy.
These trends also bode well for the online meal component delivery outfits like Blue Apron, which will send to your door meal kits starting at $9.99 per person that include "farm fresh seasonable vegetables, meat with no added hormones, sustainably-sourced seafood, and everything else you need."
We haven't tried such a service yet, but maybe we should. Would probably be better than fried shrimp and mac'n cheese out of a box.