In comparison to Gen Xers, baby boomers, and traditionalists, the millennial generation that spans those born between 1981 and the mid-2000s are spending less on dairy. Of the portion of millennials' income that is delegated to be spent on food, only 1.7 percent is utilized to purchase milk and only 8.36 percent on all dairy products, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
That’s compared to Gen Xers who spend 1.7 percent on milk (9.1 percent on all dairy), baby boomers who spend 2.2 percent on milk (10.9 percent on all dairy), and traditionalists who spend 2.3 percent on milk (9.6 percent on all dairy).
Part of that lower spending level on traditional dairy products can be aligned to the fact that this portion of consumers eat out more often and spend more of their budget for at-home food on prepared foods. The good news is that many of these products can and do contain dairy.
So, while millennials may be spending less on traditional dairy options, there is still plenty of room to meet them where they do eat. Dairy can capitalize on inclusion in meal courses at restaurants and in prepared food items at grocery stores.
Today’s millennial consumer may also change, as many are still single or just beginning to start a family. We should be mindful that the alteration of lifestyle as a generation ages could also change their food selections.
Millennials as a group are more racially diverse, more highly educated, and more internet savvy than their predecessors, and that should be taken into account as dairy food developers and marketers look to a future where food and the industry look much different.
For that reason, continual pursuit of new and innovative dairy products and products that include dairy are essential to growing the dairy sector in the next generation.