Good nutrition as a preventive health measure for millennials

Millennials are willing to pay more to buy foods that are convenient, wholesome and provide the attributes that they deem to be important

As younger adults, millennials generally enjoy good health and are not experiencing the ailments that are common in older generations.

Healthy dietary and lifestyle choices now have a beneficial effect years down the track. Food, beverage and supplement manufacturers can raise awareness with consumers about commonly found nutrient inadequacies in this age group, and the importance of good nutrition as a preventive measure for later. As many millennials are starting to become parents, nutrition for childbearing is also of interest.

Millennials are willing to pay more to buy foods that are convenient, wholesome and provide the attributes that they deem to be important, such as avoiding artificial flavours and ingredients, as well as a growing concern about foods that contain significant amounts of refined sugar or are highly processed.

Beverages, such as vitamin waters or other low-sugar beverages are likely to have higher appeal in this demographic. Convenience is often a paramount consideration regarding food purchases for this on-the-go generation of younger adults. This is reflected in the greater use of frozen meals and other easy-to prepare products by millennials.

Supplements continue to be a significant priority for millennials, reflected by the fact that more than 70% of them report supplement use. Use of novel delivery vehicles, such as cap-dispensing products, are likely to have high appeal in this group. Artisan products such as craft beer, certain cheeses and other small-batch products are go-to foods for millennials, as are more customisable product choices, such as make-your-own pizzas, or other tailor-made menu options. Fermented products, from traditional Greek yoghurt to newer Kimchi-flavoured products, continue to tap into the greater openness of the millennial generation to try more exotic products.

People of all ages are interested in increasing their energy levels, and millennials are no exception. Energy positioned products aim to provide an instant, short-term feeling of mental alertness and well-being. Millennials are prime targets for energy drinks, shots and bars: most fit into the core energy drink user categories of students, party goers, business people, young parents and sportspeople.

Sports and exercise

There are some key differences regarding how millennials train compared with older generations. For millennials, group fitness classes hold great appeal, more so than individual or unstructured training sessions.

Unlike older generations, millennials want their work out to be a challenge, or help them to reach a personal goal, such as competing in an event or achieving competence in a particular sport. Sports nutrition can help millennials to achieve their sporting goals, but could be aimed at the experience of exercising rather than specific targets.

Sports beverages, supplements and foods have been shown to benefit exercise including enhancing performance, improving recovery and making exercise more enjoyable. Evidence of clinically proven benefits may provide added appeal for millennial sportspeople, who may desire a reduced perception of fatigue and exertion to allow them to focus on their enjoyment of exercising with friends.

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