Age is the most important factor determining grocery shopping and eating habits, Future Thinking finds


Future Thinking, the business intelligence research consultancy, has today revealed the findings of the 2015 Grocery Eye, an annual independent study of supermarket shoppers to identify perceptions towards purchasing and consuming food and drink as well as non-food products. The survey, now in its second year, monitors the sentiments of over 2,000 consumers to determine consumption and behaviour trends. The research shows that 54% of millennials (those aged between 16-34) believe the role of organic products to be important compared to just 30% of over 55s; which is surprising when factoring in the cost of organics.

However, this younger generation appears to lead less healthy lifestyles.  80% of 16-34 year olds purchase fresh fruit and veg compared to 96% of over 55 year olds and only 63% of 16-34 year olds include fruit and veg in their diets compared to 88% of over 55s.

Furthermore, confectionery is, by far, the under 34’s favourite item to shop for, chosen by 29% of respondents. Conversely, over 55s prefer to buy fresh fruit and veg, chosen by 38% of that age group, which would suggest the young make less healthy choices.

The over 55 age bracket consider themselves to have the most nutritious diets, with 40% thinking they already have a healthy diet compared to 28% of those aged between 16-34. They are also more likely to look out for low salt foods (29%) and high fibre items (23%), whereas it is barely an issue for those under 35 (14%).

The Grocery Eye also showed that 16-34 year olds feel it is more difficult to get by on their tight food budget, have a greater tendency to snack between meals during the day and look for packaging to fit with their lifestyles, illustrating the changing needs of millennials.

Claudia Strauss, managing director of FMCG and shopper at Future Thinking, said: “There is an unjustified perception that millennials are not engaged with food compared to their older peers. Whilst it is clear that their lifestyles and lower incomes result in their eating habits to be less healthy, millennials are more socially conscious than the older generations selecting brands accordingly. They also engage with foods in different ways , for example, ‘the Instagram effect’ reflecting the way millennials share images of their food on social media on average three times a week. This presents a positive challenge for manufacturers who need to tailor not only their food offer, but also the way they communicate with different audiences.”