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Ways Millennials Are Changing the Way We Eat A millennial may have a degree in art or music, yet is still likely to have a thorough understanding of nutrition and be able to differentiate between healthy foods and harmful foods

By Arvind Jain

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Anyone who reaches adulthood in the early part of this century is called a millennial. Hence anyone born between 1981 and 2001 is a millennial. When observing millennials, one quickly learns they're different from an earlier generation. Millennials grew up surrounded by technology and live in an interconnected world with friends across the world. Unlike earlier generations, the current generation of young people is more responsible. Young people today want to live healthier lives and want to live in harmony with nature. This makes them, unlike Generation X which often indulged in unhealthy food habits. The way millennials are choosing to live is impacting the lives of almost everyone. A few ways lifestyles of millennials are shaping how others live are elaborated below.

Millennials are Conscious of Hygiene and Health

Millennials care about what happens in a kitchen. If a kitchen is untidy and unhygienic fewer millennials are likely to eat food prepared in it. This springs from keenness among millennials to maintain good health for which eating hygienic food is crucial. In the past restaurants believed "you're alone in the kitchen", which translated to "because customers don't know the conditions in which food is prepared, keeping a kitchen hygienic is unimportant". Believing "you're alone in the kitchen" today is a blunder as a single post on social media can put a restaurant out of business. Millennials not only want to be served food that is good for health, but they also want the conditions in which food is prepared to be immaculate. Young people don't believe that hygienic food that's good for health can be prepared in untidy and unhygienic surroundings.

The unwillingness of millennials to divorce the surroundings in which food is prepared from the food's quality and nutritional value means the rest of society is benefiting by eating more hygienic food.

They Have an Understanding of Home Science

A millennial may have a degree in art or music, yet is still likely to have a thorough understanding of nutrition and be able to differentiate between healthy foods and harmful foods. Millennials eagerly scan the labels on food packages and bottles to learn which ingredients are inside. Even though most are young, millennials understand that foods rich in trans-fats are bad for health while organically grown fruits and vegetables are good for health. Some millennials also want to know the number of calories in foods. This is very important to millennials who lead active lifestyles and count the number of calories they consume and burn.

Everyone benefits from these habits because many companies are eager to accurately label their products knowing it will lead to higher sales. People in their 50s, 60s, and 70s benefit from this trend because they can choose to buy products made from healthy ingredients. Hence the health habits of millennials are having an impact on much of society.

Millennials Enjoy Eating Out

The spending power of millennials is immense. They have more disposable income than did any earlier generation in its 20s and 30s. Armed with high disposable incomes, millennials are fuelling numerous new restaurants and eateries. Millennials enjoy visiting hotels and restaurants for a good meal and do so often because they don't have time to cook. Because millennials travel frequently, they also eat out more often. The propensity to eat out is reshaping the restaurant landscape in India as more restaurants are in business today than ever before. This is benefiting all of society by enabling members to enjoy well-cooked food in hygienic settings.

They Savour Good Food

Looking at the social media friend lists of young people reveals they have a large number of friends from overseas. Many tourists are visiting India from abroad and many Indians are travelling abroad every year. Such travels allow young Indians to befriend people from all corners of the world and partake in eating foods that didn't originate in India. Young Indians are thinking far beyond butter chicken, biryani, and daal. They experiment with exotic foods and eating pasta, sushi, or streak is unremarkable to many of them.

This hunger for savouring exotic foods is leading to new restaurants that specialize in Lebanese cuisines, Vietnamese cuisines, and cuisines from every part of the world. The large numbers of new restaurants serving dishes from every corner of the world highlights the preference among millennials for exotic foods. Millennials pay great care in selecting where to eat, to them brands matter, and a restaurant with a reputation for preparing tasty and hygienic food is likely to win them over. Also, restaurants with a reputation for using quality ingredients are likely to be patronised by millennials.

Ease of Food Delivery Apps is Invaluable

While millennials are believed to be a pampered bunch, a large number of them want to get ahead and have an aspirational work ethic. This means millennials are very likely to work long hours in the office and even at home. Because of their busy professional and personal lives, they often rely on food delivery apps to supply themselves with sustenance. Food delivery apps are a big hit with millennials because they allow them to order food from their favourite restaurant to their home, office, or anywhere else. Naturally, everyone benefits from this trend because one needn't be a millennial to use food delivery apps. Even people in their 60s order food using food delivery apps and many children in their teens do so as well.

Millennials Use Supplements to Enjoy Active Lifestyles

Many millennials have a hectic lifestyle which includes physical activity. Not only do millennials want to eat healthy food, but they also want to eat supplements that give an edge. Millennials also love supplements because they have preventative healthcare properties. Millennials know prevention is better than cure which is why they supplement their regular diet with food supplements. A sedentary lifestyle will lead to chronic disorders; millennials understand this. An effective way to prevent the onset of chronic disorders is by exercising. This is why the majority of gym goers are millennials. At their gyms, millennials learn the latest science behind supplements and make buying decisions after consulting a dietician, friend or using their own reasoning. Of course, supplements can be used by everyone and even people in their 40s and 50s use supplements.

They Have a Soft Spot for Home Cooked Food

It would be wrong to believe millennials daily eat exotic dishes served by trendy restaurants. In truth, most millennials enjoy traditional home cooked food even more than eating out. Nourishing home cooked food is more popular than ever before among young people and millennials never miss the chance to eat home-cooked food they enjoyed as children. Many millennials know how to cook and enjoy cooking when they have time. This means on relaxing days they're likely to eat a traditional Indian meal identical to one served in their homes when they were children.

The current generation in their 20s and late teens is more confident than their elders and enjoys a lifestyle that radiates this confidence. It is the confidence of millennials that is allowing them to reshape society more drastically than any earlier generation did. And this is good news for Indian society because it enjoys a windfall of new eating options and the chance to sample foods unavailable before. Older Indians also benefit from the knowledge of millennials about food supplements and from their demand for hygienic and healthy foods which people of all ages can eat.

Arvind Jain

CEO, NetBiz

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