When it comes to offering healthier food and beverage options to consumers, the definition of what is “healthy” varies. And it varies dramatically between different generations, including millennials vs. baby boomers.
The 2016 Food and Health Survey by The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, which was conducted by Greenwald & Associates using ResearchNow’s consumer panel, found boomers are more likely than millennials to rate as healthy: whole grains (80 percent vs. 70 percent, respectively); protein from plant sources (75 percent vs. 63 percent); and omega-3 fatty acids (71 percent vs. 59 percent).
“The boomers were more likely than other populations like millennials to say a healthy eating style includes certain foods they define as healthy,” Liz Sanders, associate director of nutrition at IFIC, told Convenience Store News. “So, boomers are more motivated than other generations to include healthy food in their diets.”
For example, boomers are more likely than millennials to be interested in health benefits associated with foods such as weight management, cardiovascular health, and digestive health. Millennials are more likely to be interested in benefits such as mental health, muscle health and immunity associated with foods, according to the survey.
These results further show how diet is not one-size-fits-all. “This is especially apparent across the generations,” said Joseph Clayton, CEO of the IFIC Foundation.
Other results of the survey include:
Boomers (32 percent) are more likely than the general population (22 percent) to define a healthy eating style by moderation/serving size and portions.
Boomers (30 percent) are more likely than millennials (17 percent) to define a healthy eating style as including certain foods they define as healthy.
Boomers report their opinions on sweeteners are changing. Almost four in 10 boomers (37 percent) believe “added” sugars are less healthful than they used to believe. Nine in 10 of those who have recently changed their opinion on added sugars reported they are now consuming less.
Of those who report changing their opinion of added sugars within the last year, boomers are more likely than millennials (37 percent vs. 29 percent) to view them as less healthful than they used to.
Boomers are more likely to agree that low-calorie sweeteners can play a role in weight management (31 percent) than millennials (14 percent) and the general population (18 percent).
Boomers are more likely to trust their personal health care professionals (HCP) for information on the types of food to eat, compared to other generations. They are also more likely to trust registered dietitians/nutritionists (75 percent) and personal HCP (73 percent) than millennials (65 percent RDN, 58 percent HCP) and the general population (67 percent RDN, 61 percent HCP).