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Healthy millennials driving change in Australian food culture

18 May, 2018

Millennials are now the largest healthy eating consumer group in Australia (32%), showing that this age group is breaking with previous generations to embrace more fresh, healthy food choices.

Healthy-eating commercial consumption accounted for $5.8 billion and 644 million visits, creating a 14% traffic share within foodservice in 2017, finds a new CREST report released by leading global research company, The NPD Group.

Health-lead visits have stayed relatively stable over time. However, growth for health-motivated meals has outpaced the industry growth both this year and long term. QSR has seen 2% growth in a year, and healthy eating 6%, according to the Key Foodservice Trends report. The meaning of healthy eating has evolved. No longer does it revolve around low calories or low fat. Clean eating and transparency around ingredients are now more important. Interestingly, Australian Owned and Grown is seen as most important to the millennial generation when considering healthy eating (36%), followed by locally grown (31%) and no additives or preservatives (24%).

The NPD report also finds that this generation has created a ‘healthy indulgence’ culture into Australian foodservice. This includes a large shift to ‘natural’ food and beverages; with high protein and no additives or hormones being the most sought-after factors.  Health-lead visits have stayed relatively stable over time. However, growth for health-motivated meals has outpaced the industry growth in both recent years and long term. QSR has seen 2% growth in a year, and healthy eating 6%.

“Providing easy access to healthier meals made with high quality, local ingredients steering away from ‘low-fat / low calorie’ options are a ‘must have’ for the most health-conscious generation of Australians.  These health-lead, quality assured meals and snacks can no longer be an option in foodservice, but a ‘need-to-have’ offering within the industry,” says Gimantha Jayasinghe, NPD Deputy Managing Director. “ Foodservice operators seeking to gain more visits and grow their bottom line should carefully consider their offerings to attract the most health-conscious generation.”

The growing numbers of Millennials searching for quality, healthy snack option does not solely rely on in-store purchases.  The increasing reliance on tech within the foodservice space is key when attracting a new generation of consumer. Whilst still in its infancy in Australia, digital ordering of food services has doubled in volume in the last five years.  Within that time, it has grown from $643,000 in 2013 to $1,369,000 in 2017. In 2013, 67,000 Australians were using online food services, and this has jumped to 134,000 in 2017, the NPD report found.

Convenience is the number one traffic driver when using online services (35%), and consumers are willing to pay more for the privilege. The higher costs associated are usually attributed to delivery charges or spending more to hit the delivery amount required.

Jayasinghe commented: “The tech space is growing rapidly as digital convenience tools continue to evolve.  Mobile Apps is one area of tech that is second nature to many of us, especially the Millennial generation, and this includes the food industry. Those within the industry need to consider their digital platforms going forward if they wish to stay competitive in the foodservice space and to appeal to the new generation of consumer.”

Customers prefer to order via a dedicated restaurant app, rather than ordering via traditional methods or just the internet. 63% of consumers use internet digital orders versus 72% of us preferring a mobile app based ordering system.

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