“Can we get this?” asked my kids at the supermarket. It was a snack made by one of the major food companies.
I looked at the ingredients. Maltodextrin. Monosodium glutamate. Disodium phosphate. I said: “No. Let’s get something that doesn’t have all this junk in it.”
Eating healthy and not wanting to put lots of chemicals in your body was once considered a weird thing to do.
However, that’s changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Everyone today looks at nutrition labels to see how many chemicals the food companies have added to help their products look good, take a certain form or sit on the shelf for years. When most people see ingredients like what I listed above, they buy something else.
And this trend of healthy eating is getting a super surge because an entire generation that has been brought up to eat food without preservatives and chemicals is beginning to dominate food buying. And this generation has just hit a critical milestone that is making them the largest force in the economy now.
A Healthier Generation
This generation is the millennial generation, or Americans between the ages of 18 and 34. Millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history, numbering 92 million strong. And in every aspect of our economy, millennials are dominating what is going on.
Millennials represent the largest group of homebuyers, accounting for 35% of all home buying according to the National Association of Realtors. And research shows that millennials will represent 46% of all car buying by 2025.
In other words, millennials are increasingly the demographic that’s driving what businesses cater to. And that’s true especially for food, where millennials pretty much avoid products made by the food and beverage giants such as General Mills, Kellogg, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and others.
When millennials see ingredients like maltodextrin or monosodium glutamate, they reach for new brands that cater to their sense of healthy eating.
This is why there is an explosion of new food brands. A good example is the Kind energy bar, which boasts that it only uses ingredients you can see and pronounce. Another example is the soaring popularity of Trader Joe’s grocery stores, which are a favorite of millennials.
The Natural Choice
Millennials’ preference for healthy food is also changing how restaurants select ingredients. For example, the restaurant chain Panera Bread just completed a two-year goal to eliminate preservatives and artificial additives from its menu. And Panera Bread is already reaping the benefits of catering to millennials, with sales up a robust 5% in its last quarter.
Another strong consumer preference of millennials is to eat organic food. 77% of millennials say they’re knowledgeable about organic products, and 52% of parents who buy organic food are millennials.
Grab-and-go food from convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Sheetz and Wawa is another millennial preference. Research firm NPD says 29% of millennials report that they like to get food on the run from these kinds of stores.
Now, obviously, that particular stock is just for subscribers. And right now there isn’t an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that I could direct you to that will give you exposure to the food choices and preferences of the millennial generation. However, you could buy the Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSE Arca: DIA), which will give you wide exposure to many companies that are going to benefit from millennials’ spending habits.
Editor, Profits Unlimited