Millennials are Driving an $18 Billion Food Revolution

October 19, 2015
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A panel of experts at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit say millennials are turning the food industry on its head.

$18 billion. That’s the market share lost by the top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies in the last five years.

A Fortune senior writer used that startling number to kick off a panel discussion on “The New Food Revolution” at the Most Powerful Women summit on Tuesday.

So what (or who) is responsible for this radical shift? Millennials with a desire for transparency.

Millennials are driving a disruption in the food industry.

Consumers are shopping with their smartphones and have a wealth of information available about the food they buy. You can now make smarter choices on the spot.

But while consumers now have access to more information than ever before, they still need a better understanding of what they’re eating. The food industry is responsible for leading the education effort.

Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, how it’s made, and where it’s grown. As a company, they’re working on it, but have a lot more work to do.

Over the past decade, an industry tracker has recorded an 18% decline in canned-soup consumption at dinner and a 7% decline at lunch.

The future of the food industry is entirely in the hands of smaller companies and the big companies are just not as nimble.

Consumers look to the industry for innovation. We can make changes really, really fast. What’s going to be the next big thing in food?

So what is the next big thing? Expect even further fragmentation in the food industry. The panelists said that health is being redefined—it’s not about fat and calories anymore. It’s about supplementing your diet and not making cuts.

Low-fat was big a few years ago, and that’s gone away now. We need to make sure we label our products and be very transparent about what’s in them. You can’t dictate what people eat, but you can make sure they’re very clear on what they’re putting into their bodies.

Source:  IFDA Newsletter, 10-13-15.

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