NPD Reports on the Future of Eating

December 2, 2009 — Each generation will make a distinctive mark on how and what Americans will be eating in 10 years, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. In its A Look into The Future of Eating report, NPD’s food industry market research finds that eating patterns over the next decade will be influenced by the behaviors that occur with aging, and the differences in preferences from one generation to another.

A Look into The Future of Eating looks at how Generation Z, born 1990 to present; Y (Millennials), born 1976 to 1989; X, born 1965 to 1975; Younger Boomers, 1956 to 1964; Older Boomers, 1946 to 1955; and Generation Silent, 1930 to 1945, eat today, and how as they age they will eat 10 years from now.

Based on the impact of age dynamics, trend momentum (prior and current eating patterns), and population growth, the top five food groups expected to increase in consumption are salty/savory snacks, easy meals, center of plate proteins (i.e. meat entrees), sweet snacks/desserts, and heat and eat breakfasts. Based on generational and aging influences, over the next decade, people in Generation Y are expected to be primary contributors to the forecasted growth in consumption of all these food groups with the exception of heat and eat breakfasts. Future kids less than 10 years of age are expected to have more influence on consumption of this food group compared to the other foods.

“As the different generations age over the next decade, corresponding changes in their life stage will have a major impact on what and how they eat,” says Ann Hanson, author of A Look into The Future of Eating and director of product development at NPD. “Understanding the effect of aging on the various generations’ eating habits and preferences helps food and beverage companies develop long-range plans in terms of their overall product portfolio, positioning and innovation.”

NPD’s A Look into The Future of Eating report provides a 10-year forecast of eating trends based on generational influences, population, and trend momentum gathered from NPD’s 30-years of tracking America’s eating patterns. This food industry market research report covers a broad spectrum of food and beverage categories, preparation methods, meal situations, and other food-related behaviors.

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