(BPT) – As millennials become more conscious of how their diets affect their daily well-being, they’re driving demand across all generations for greater transparency in the food supply chain. They want to know how their foods were raised, sourced, processed and prepared.
“Sometimes, food is more than food,” report authors of a Nielsen study, indicating 75 percent of adults worldwide think they “are what they eat” and nearly 80 percent use foods to forestall health and medical issues.
Cargill recently conducted a Feed4Thought survey related to how these millennial-driven trends are shaping values related to food — and buying behaviors — for people of all ages.
1. Buying food based on how animals were raised
Consumers report being three times more likely to purchase protein if they know it was raised with natural health supplements. And 58 percent of U.S. consumers are more concerned about food animal welfare now than they were just a few years ago, according to a recent report by researcher Packaged Facts.
2. More emphasis on gut health
Nutritionists are increasingly learning about the role of the stomach and its microorganisms in maintaining our health. The foods we digest reportedly have a profound effect on our balance of “good and bad bacteria,” the soundness of our immune systems and our brain’s release of feel-good chemical serotonin, according to the NCBI. And supplements can be effective as well. In the Cargill survey, 80 percent of respondents report adjusting or supplementing their diets to achieve better gut health.
3. A desire for animals to use the same health supplements humans do
Millennials want to know the origins of their food, and that includes understanding what their meat sources have been fed. A December survey found 62 percent of millennials prefer their animal proteins to have been raised with the same supplements ingested by humans — like probiotics, plant extracts and essential oils. “People want natural, wholesome and sustainable ingredients,” notes Chuck Warta, president of Cargill Premix and Nutrition. “We’ve seen a rise in the popularity of digestive health supplements for humans, echoed in the demand for protein raised with natural supplements.”
4. Bigger emphasis on protein
Eighty-seven percent of U.S. millennials (and 99 percent of those who are college grads) consider protein important to their diets, says one study. And worldwide, a Nielsen report found 34 percent of millennials rate high amounts of protein a very important element in their decisions of which foods to buy. Nutritionists are finding new ways to meet the increased demand for proteins to address the growing world population and their desire for protein-rich diets.
While millennials have been the forerunners in driving new and healthier dietary trends in recent years, their initiatives have spread across all generations to improve awareness and make us all more conscious of exactly what we’re eating.
“It’s important for the animal agriculture community to remain in touch with food trends so we can continue to provide the choices consumers demand,” concludes Hannah Thompson-Weeman of the Animal Agriculture Alliance.
Cargill, a longtime leader in producing sustainable and wholesome foods, recently acquired two companies that specialize in natural, research-proven animal feed products. Read more about the company’s “Feed4Thought” survey at Cargill.com.