Cooking and what we eat has changed significantly in the U.S., especially for Millennials. The stereotype of the grab-and-go, prepackaged ramen noodle-eating, Millennial is falling by the wayside.
Over the past 10 years, consumption of fresh foods grew 20% to more than 100 billion “consumptions” per year. The NPD Group (2014) projects fresh consumption will exceed 120 billion per year by 2018. Fresh food consumption by Millennials and Gen Z consumers will increase 11.1% and 7.5%, respectively, by 2018.
As we work to unveil our Hispanic Millennial Grocery Shopper model, we are seeing a movement that confirms that there are Hispanic Millennial sub-segments gravitating to organic and even calling themselves foodies.
They remember the foods they may have eaten growing up, prepared lovingly by hand all day in their abuela’s kitchen. To replicate those traditional recipes, would require chopping the various ingredients and grinding all the right spices. But now there are amazing ready-made sauces that taste so great no one would know the difference … except, maybe your abuelita.
Hispanic Millennials want to recreate those recipes without going through as much effort. This new wave of ready-to-serve offerings without preservatives, just all-natural ingredients, is changing the way we all cook and eat. You can get your mole, adobo, curry and other exotic flavorings without all the effort.
Nielsen says in 2014, dollar sales of fresh global/exotic items grew by 9%. The same report reveals that fresh convenient is up by 7%, healthy fresh is also up by 7%, and fresh premium/indulgent, is up by 4%.
This entire category is exploding, with fresh prepared foods projected to outpace retail and foodservice food/beverage sales through 2017 with sales up 6% – 7%. This trend is also hitting the deli department where sales of fresh prepared foods sold there rose 7.2% for the year ending March 29, 2014.
A Mintel study confirms the same trends. According to Mintel (2014), when it comes to sauces/marinades, spicy/hot flavors are preferred by 52% of consumers. In addition, 49% are fans of authentic U.S. regional flavors, and 40% go for international/ethnic.
What does this mean? Companies like Campbell Foods, McCormick and Knorr are either off to the races with their own “ready to eat” offerings or they will surely be left behind. They will also have to figure out a way to make the offerings preservative free and more natural. Not an easy feat for these multi-nationals.
In the meantime, don’t be ashamed to let your friends keep thinking everything you make comes from scratch.