NPD on the Future of Eating

December 2/Chicago/Business Wire -- Each generation will make a distinctive mark on how and what Americans will be eating in 10 years, according to The NPD Group. 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 1976-1989; X, born 1965-1975; Younger Boomers, 1956-1964; Older Boomers, 1946-1955; and Generation Silent, 1930-945, 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.

Top Five Food Groups Expected to Grow Over Next Decade % Change is 2018 vs. 2008
Salty/savory snacks   16.1%   Gen Y +44%
Easy meals   16.0%   Gen Y +42%
Center of plate proteins   15.1%   Gen Y +22%
Sweet snacks/desserts   14.0%   Gen Y +34%
Heat and eat breakfasts   13.4%   Gen Z +4%
Source: The NPD Group/"A Look into The Future of Eating"
* Food trends are for in-home or carried from home situations, excludes purchased and consumed away-from-home  

"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.

From the December 7, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition