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CHICAGO — Americans' consumption of fruits, vegetables, dairy and other fresh foods has reached levels not seen in 30 years, with younger adults leading the way, according to The NPD Group’s latest National Eating Trends consumption tracker, released Tuesday.
According to the research firm, 17.4 percent of all in-home eating and drinking occasions included fresh foods in 2014.
Over the past decade, adults aged 18 to 34 have increased their consumption of fresh foods the most out of all age groups. These results are a surprise, as millennials are in a life stage when people typically consume lower quantities of fresh foods in favor of more time-saving and convenient options, reported NPD.
“As millennials returned to their homes to source more of their meals, they spent a little more time in the kitchen to make dishes like eggs/omelets, pancakes, vegetables/legumes and rice,” said Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst. “This doesn’t mean they are becoming chefs or that they even enjoy spending time in the kitchen. In fact, millennials account for more than their fair share of rice cooker sales, meaning they want fresh rice with their meals without having to hover over a saucepan for 30 minutes.”
Younger adults have shifted from considering frozen foods as convenient to their focus now being on freshness, while getting out of the kitchen quickly, Seifer added.
“As millennials recover in the job market, there are predictions that they will return to lower levels of fresh consumption in order to manage their increased time pressures. But there’s also evidence that fresh actually may be here to stay,” he said. “When looking at typical behaviors of Americans across the past 30 years, the consumption of fresh foods and beverages increases with age as consumers gain more cooking skills and confidence in the kitchen. It would seem millennials’ heightened levels of fresh consumption could represent a sizeable shift in the way consumers prepare foods for decades to come.”
The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions intended to drive better decision-making and better results.