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Gen Z, Millennial consumers naturally favor organic

Organic produce, meat and packaged foods among most popular with adults under age 40.

The prevailing demographic of organic consumers skews in two directions, Packaged Facts revealed in the new market research study “Eating Trends: Generational Food.” The most obvious are upscale consumers, which includes higher educational attainment and household income, while the less obvious are younger adult consumers of the Gen Z (ages 18-24) and Millennial (ages 25-39) generations.

“Millennials and younger members of Generation X tend to be the biggest users of organic foods and much more likely than average to agree that they especially look for organic or natural foods when they shop,” David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, said.

Packaged Facts reports that young people also are more likely to have young children in the home -- a key demographic for organic eating. In general, use of organic foods drops off at the age brackets of 55 and over.

The research found that adults under age 40 are especially apt to value healthy, premium and fresh foods, including organic produce and meat.

“Younger consumers, including Gen Z, Millennials and younger members of Generation X, are the most likely to say they tend to buy organic produce to varying degrees,” the research firm noted. “As Gen Z in particular obtains a higher income, often after graduating from college, they are expected to partake of more organic produce and become more significant buyers.”

Research further revealed that core consumers of organic meat, like those of other organic products, tend to be younger, have children in the household and have higher household incomes. Peripheral organic meat buyers are more price sensitive and tend to buy organic meat when it is on sale, Packaged Facts reported.

“Despite having relatively lower incomes, adults Gen Zers and Millennials show slightly more frequent purchasing of organic meats, being more likely to perceive organic meats or meats with premium labels — such as ‘naturally raised,’ grass fed/pasture raised, antibiotic/steroid/hormone free and no preservatives — as tasting better and being healthier than conventional meats.”

Gen Zs and Millennials are also disproportionately represented among purchasers of organic packaged foods, in part because they tend to prioritize better-for-you snacks. Millennials are the most likely purchasers of organic packaged foods.

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