19 Comments

  1. This really doesn’t surprise me very much, but being Gen X (and older Gen X) I have a different perspective. The food landscape changed a ton right before and as you guys came of age.

    Millennials may spend more, but some of that is because you guys have grown up with so many options. Ask your parents about the grocery stores when they grew up versus today. I remember it being a really big deal in the mid 70s to go to a grocery store with a bakery, and the fruit choices during the winter were basically apples, oranges or bananas. Pineapples were amazingly exotic unless canned. And restaurant choices were a lot fewer at least in the south…basically burger joints, diners, pizza and a smattering of Italian and Chinese restaurants in bigger towns. Now Mexican is standard even in the middle of nowhere, and Mayberry probably would have a Thai place and grocery store sushi.

    And, food doesn’t feel like an unreasonable thing to spend money on, particularly if you are buying it at the grocery store. You have to eat. Eating in is cheaper than eating out. Nevermind that you might be buying foods that are fully prepared and way more expensive than you need to be paying. It’s really easy for the cost to get out of hand if you aren’t tracking expenses.

    Finally, I think about food TV. I love shows like Top Chef. TV food looks amazing, but you know it’s not usually low cal. But it’s popularized a lot of ingredients (pork belly!) and made people want to try lots of things. You can feel like a foodie who knows a lot about the culinary world even if you live in a backwater, because you can watch Food TV 24/7.

    • I really, really love these different insights, Emily. I do think that you’re right about part of our eatings habits is based on what is available to us. And the influences of the Food Network. I remember when HGTV came out and people called it the “new Food Network” in terms of its addictiveness and influence.

    • The hubby and I talk about the amount of new foods we tried after moving out from our parents house. Things we never ate at home. But 5 years later, they were everywhere. Blue cheese. Feta. Artichokes. Kalamata olives. Coconut curry. Any salad green other than iceburg. It changed fast. But now any restaurant will have these.

      • I grew up on iceberg lettuce! I convinced my parents to switch to greener greens. And I still remember the first time I brought home hummus. My dad took a bite and has called it “pumice” ever since! My mom, though, is a big fan!

  2. You had me curious about the Carnivore Club, but at $50/month, I’ll just have to remain curious!

    It’s a very cool infographic, but I think it’s ridiculous that people would rather go to a food festival than a music festival. Don’t most music festivals have food trucks these days? 😀

    • Right? All subscription boxes are a little too rich for my blood. And it’s not that I don’t like cooking. I hate the clean up. If I’m going to spend big, I prefer to eat out and let someone else worry about the dishes.

      That statistic surprised me too!

  3. I wonder how much of the obesity problem is the “treat yo’self” mentality. If I eat a salad for lunch, I “deserve” fries and a brownie for dinner, right? I’ll go to the gym tomorrow, I promise. I mean, I bought the yoga pants, so I’ll at least go to brunch in the vicinity of the gym…
    It is hard to be healthy when the dietary guidelines aren’t based on good science and they change dramatically every decade. It almost makes more sense to say “Forget it. I’ll just eat whatever I want.”
    These days there are so many documentaries and studies promoting different diets that it’s hard to know what’s right. Fat was bad. Now sugar is bad. Meat is bad. No, carbs are bad. Vegan is okay- you can still eat Oreos. No, Paleo is the way to go… Who knows?
    We’re trying to eat more whole foods and it makes me feel much better, but our guidelines need to include more science and fewer lobbyists.

    • I definitely grew up with parents (OK, it was my mom and my dad just went along with it) who got into the whole calorie counting thing. My mom, who was never heavy, would go to Jenny Craig meetings for a half hour and leave me at the bookstore next door! I’d say my food choices are equal parts influenced by and a reaction to what I grew up eating.

  4. PIC and I have had a lot of conversations about how, as Californians, we forget there is such a thing as growing seasons. We have everything year-round. Mangos and strawberries and apples and grapes don’t actually grow and ripen at the same time but JuggerBaby wouldn’t ever know that from our weekly grocery shopping! I knew that because I’m the grandchild of a farmer and a few things stuck but like Emily said, we have the amazing luxury of access to food all around the world.

    We did realize that this might be something unique to the coasts, though, when friends from the center of the country were surprised to see we had more than one Asian food restaurant – and it was just “Asian” to them because they didn’t have the multiplicity of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese and more foods that we have. Just to point to one general area of food.

    And oh my goodness, we have the internet! There is literally no recipe I can’t find by kermit typing a few food related words. This is entirely a total 180 from twenty years ago. I remember learning to cook pre-internet. It was “remember everything I just did, and do that exact same thing, without measuring anything.” Needless to say, I was a terrible cook as a teen.

    I didn’t think that taking food pictures were a millennial thing but my friends from the silent generation/baby boomers (ish) generations have teased me about them for years. So, I guess? I like remembering delicious foods!

    • I love remembering delicious foods! I always add a page to our travel journals to document what I ate. In Costa Rica, I have mamon chino (rambutans). I could not get enough of them. They were delicious, and they are the goofiest looking thing I’ve ever eaten!

  5. When I was young, most of our family meals were based on potatoes, whereas anything with potatoes, pasta, rice, cous cous or noodles is a normal carb for our meal and it seems boring to stick to the same old formula every night.

    We don’t eat out all that often at home to be honest, but when we go away, a huge chunk of planning is on where we will eat and how to find the most authentic food… and a lot of it gets snapped! I reckon cooking standards for a wider range of foods have improved, which means we expect higher standards from restaurants, and we like to take a pic when our food is presented artistically to us.

    • That’s interesting, Sarah. I, too, love to snap photos of my food when it looks like a work of art, especially if we’re traveling. I don’t always share the photos on social media, but I do like to flip through them with my husband to remember our travels.

    • Only if I can drink my weight in milkshakes. My husband had never been to one, so when we honeymooned in Arizona, it was our first dinner! Worth every calorie.

  6. Wow I’m shocked at the obesity claim as well. I feel like millennials tend to be a very health conscious generation. I won’t dispute that millennials do like to drink a lot (maybe I’m a little biased because I’m a fresh graduate and I’m basing my opinion on what I saw in my college days).

    I’m shocked that millennials prefer living a comfortable life now and possibly an uncomfortable life later on by buying expensive and decadent meals on a limited income. It seems to me like a backwards way to live but I sure won’t be judging anyone for their spending mistakes (er…. choices)!

  7. Loving the humor in this post! I agree that millennials (I’m one, barely) are foodies, and sometimes it doesn’t make much sense in light of financial realities like massive student loans or low incomes. Food is an in-the-moment gratification, so it makes sense if you’re not seeing a ton of quick progress in your bigger goals, you might want it on your plate. But we’ve also just been exposed to so much more, whether through travel, celebrity chefs, diverse restaurants, and food brand marketing.

    I’m the kind of person who could eat the same things every day, but I could also go for a different ethnic cuisine every day of the week. I do stock more ingredients so I can make those foods without going out.

  8. This is all very interesting. To be honest, I don’t think about my food too much. We don’t eat out to save money, except for occasional trips to the drive-thru (no more than once every two weeks). We eat our typical rotation of meals that we like.

    I do think about what we feed the kids a lot. There seems to be so much pressure on parents to feel kids organic, super “healthy” food. Should I feel guilty about feeding the kids macaroni and cheese, fish sticks, processed cheese slices, regular old ground beef? No. We ate that stuff growing up and turned out fine. And my kids eat tons of fruits and vegetables. They have never eaten kale or quinoa. They do eat cereal with food coloring.

    Parents are likely influenced by social media in feeding their kids, as much as they are with feeling the need to order fancy instagram-worthy food for themselves. All you need is a couple of parents to brag about a cute bento box creation on Facebook before everyone else feels like they’re slackers.

Comments are closed.