Friday, July 18, 2008

Boomers, X'ers, and Millennials

Allan Nation posted a little snippet from a study on the eating habits of Baby Boomers (43-62), Generation X (32-42), and Millennials (16-32). He doesn't link to the study, but he does give a basic summary of the findings:
"Baby boomers believe in balanced meals, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and avoidance of fats; but Millennials are the largest users of natural and organic foods. Boomers are far more interested in limited trans fat consumption that the other two generations. Millennials eat more meals away from home than at home while Boomers tend to reserve dining out for special occasions. Only 40% of Gen Xers dine out more frequently that they eat at home."
It is funny because as soon as I read that quote this morning I clicked over to blogger to start writing this post. The first thing that popped into my mind was that we need to get the natural/local/organic food into more restaurants (both large and smaller local ones). After I had that thought I went back to read the rest of Mr. Nation's post and saw that he came to the same conclusion.

On the flip side, I think it also points out that we need to continue to educate. I have to admit that I have a passion for helping people be good stewards of their money, and eating at home more often than eating out is one of those stewardship issues. Of course restaurants don't want to hear that, but I think they will be fine because plenty of people will still eat out. When you combine the importance of eating local and supporting the local economy there are so many benefits.

Is anybody working on getting their food into local restaurants? I recently wrote about a place in North Carolina that is connected with a farm ... pretty cool thing.


Monica said...

Actually, Ethan, I know there is at least one family that has gotten their salad greens into local restaurants. My suspicion is that depending on states it may be tougher for meat.

Anyway, they seem a very cool family that produces an incredible amount of produce (6000 lbs. per year) on only 1/10 acre. Google "Urban Homestead Dervaes" -- I forget their exact URL.

Andrew the Organic Maven said...

Chefs and restaurants is one segment of our marketing plan that we will be following this (Southern) spring, and would be interested to hear from others who have experience in this area.

The trick will be finding a chef that is willing to 'work' with us, and us being able to provide regular and reliable supply.

For more info on producing vast quantities of greens, or other veges for that matter, from sub-acres lots, go to Although aimed at 'urban farmers' the practices and efficiencies work everywhere.

farm mama said...

There are at least 4 upscale restaurants in Charleston, SC that serve (and advertise) their use of locally produced food. This includes produce, eggs and meat (there is a 6-month waiting list for pork). At a local workshop sponsored by Clemson University to encourage small local farms and help them find customers, a man who works with chefs said that he would buy even in small quantities. There are frequent newspaper and local TV news stories encouraging consumers to buy and eat local.

Yeoman said...

There's only one restaurant that has tried that here, but only because it was started by a fellow who became extremely wealthy, and bought ranch ground with some of his wealth. A menu option, for a while, was his own beef, although that seems to have stopped.

I'd applaud the effort anyhow except that he keeps having all sorts of prairie ripped up for developments, which I don't approve of, and we do not need.

Mellifera said...

Not that I know of- although we do have one family-owned grocery store in town, Ward's, that does a really good job of including locally-grown produce. (Being Florida, it's not that hard to get locally-grown produce, but they seem to try harder than most other stores to get local when possible.) They're sort of a cross between Whole Foods and Aldi's, if that makes any sense.

They're in sort of a sketchier (less yuppie, anyway) part of town and I think what happened was it was the nice part of town when they opened up shop in the 50s, but the part they're in slowly went downhill over the years and they've had to make sure to keep some really amazing inventory to keep people coming. It works- it's tiny but you can get just about anything there (and the produce section takes up about half the store), and all kinds of people actually shop there. (It's neither a ghetto-mart nor a soccer moms-only zone.) Most of Gainesville is in a state of de-facto segregation, except for this one grocery store.

It's funny that you mention the Boomers/Xers/Millennials thing, I have a brother-in-law who's way into demographics as a hobby so we get into this one a lot. One thing maybe to remember is that most of the Millennials are in college at this point, which might explain part of why they (we) tend to eat out a lot. Might turn out to be an age thing rather than strictly generational, so it could change. Then again maybe with two working parents they just never learned how to cook and are trapped in a vicious cycle of eating out. ; )

sugarcreekfarm said...

I was thinking about this post last weekend while at selling at our 2 Friday afternoon and Saturday morning farmers markets. They're each in a different town, and our gross sales at the Friday market are much higher than at the Saturday market. 2 reasons are that the Friday market is in a larger town, and also that we were at the Friday market last year and have a customer base started there whereas it's our first year at the Saturday market.

But I also noticed that most of the traffic at the Friday market was older Millennials, Generation Xers, and younger Baby Boomers. Most of the traffic at the Saturday market was older Baby Boomers and older - not too many under the age of 50. So maybe the manager for that market needs to somehow target younger people with her advertising.

We don't target restaurants at this point because we're able to sell everything we raise direct to the consumer. We are selling to one local retail store. On the one hand I really hate having to give that wholesale discount. But on the other hand we don't have the gas expense and time wrapped up in it that we have with the farmers markets, and it has netted us some new direct customers over the years. So overall it's been a very positive thing for our business.

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