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    The Future of Eating Will Be Even Fresher

    Millennials and Gen Z are driving surge in fresh food consumption.

    CHICAGO — Consumption of fresh foods grew by 20 percent from 2003-2013 and will play an even more central role in all three main meal occasions over the next five years, according to The NPD Group.

    Driven primarily by Generation Z and Millennials, fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and eggs reached more than 100 billion eatings from 2003-2013, the Chicago-based research firm stated in its new report, The Future of Eating: Who's Eating What in 2018.

    “Generation Z and Millennials are driving changes in this country’s eating behaviors with their approach to food choice and preparation,” said Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst. 

    Breakfast will see the greatest incorporation of fresh foods during the next five years, at 9 percent, followed by 7 percent at lunch and 5 percent at dinner, NPD reported.

    “Foods on the store’s perimeter will benefit from this increasing interest in fresh," Seifer explained, noting that manufacturers of center-store items and retailers can take advantage of this trend by linking their products to fresh foods in innovative ways.

    Fruits in particular will be a key factor in the growth of ready-to-eat, better-for-you snacking over the next five years, the report found, with the youngest generations driving this trend as well. These consumers are more likely to value freshness and nutrition when looking for a snack, and convenience increasingly involves more better-for-you snacks as part of a meal or consumed between meals.

    The report also cited an increased interest in organic foods among these younger consumers, a trend that has emerged once again following a decline that began in 2008 and was attributed to the recession. 

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