Collegiate millennials shape culinary trends of tomorrow
As incoming college freshmen pack their bags for school this fall, many will be saying goodbye not only to family members but also to existing eating habits.
Thanks to innovative campus foodservice, adventurous global cuisine restaurants and the influence of new acquaintances, impressionable students are exposed to new foods that quickly turn into favorites.
- Profile 1: Dining Along the Meatless Spectrum — more students align themselves along the less-meat to meatless spectrum from flexitarian to vegetarian to vegan and even raw diets.
- Profile 2: The Mighty Chickpea — inexpensive, versatile and packed with protein, the worldly chickpea fills student bellies in myriad ways.
- Profile 3: Nut Butters: A Protein Pal — although Gen Y students grew up in a climate of peanut distrust due to the increase in children's allergies, college students today have embraced peanut butter's valuable protein power along with that of other nut butters, especially almond.
- Profile 4: Fruit & Vegetable Discovery — new college students are discovering a whole new world of fruits and vegetables. On campus they encounter expansive salad bars, unfamiliar vegetable side dishes and unusual vegan and vegetarian fare. Friends, restaurants and student retail haunts like Trader Joe's introduce them to new dried fruit snacks, to-go salads and produce-centric beverages.
- Profile 5: Asian Love Affair — we hear so much about how younger Millennials have grown up eating global cuisine. From our survey, we learned many continue the discovery in college. Thanks to dining halls and nearby ethnic restaurants, students have many opportunities to try new foods. While flavor is the primary driver, other qualities attract students such as the vegetarian possibilities and robust amount of vegetables. Customization is another draw.
- Profile 6: Italian & Mexican: Familiar Comfort — while college is a time to explore new foods and diets, it's also really stressful. Sometimes a kid needs a little comfort, something familiar, warm and filling. That's where Italian and Mexican cuisines come in.
- Profile 7: On-the-Go Fare — "Easy to make." "Portable." "Eat quickly." "Eat as I walk to class." These are the refrains coming from our student survey respondents about their "go-to" foods.