How millennials are changing the food industries’ taste buds

Millennials are about to surpass baby boomers as the largest generation this year, according to Pew Research. This growing group is beginning to influence food brands, who are adapting to the generation’s tastes and preferences.

“It’s a generation of 73 million so what the food companies are doing is saying ‘we need to connect in some way, be a do-good company to this audience,’” FOX Business Network’s Lauren Simonetti told “Varney & Co.

One example was a new flavor by StarKist.

“They like to eat small quantities of things, snacks," Simonetti said. "They also like to indulge. So, StarKist, the tuna people, they came out with a red curry coconut flavor that they sell in a pouch -- tuna fish in a pouch,” Simonetti added.

According to Simonetti, Sun-Maid is also promoting the healthy side of its products in response.

“You know you often think ‘oh, there’s added sugar,’ [Sun-Maid] say ‘nope, no added sugar, so this is healthy, this is good for you.’”

Simonetti explained that cereal companies are feeling the crunch from millennials’ eating habits as well.

“General Mills, cereal, this is a tough one," says Simonetti, "You might feel alienated if you are young and you are in the cereal aisle, because it’s all about 'heart healthy.' They're just going after the older generation.

While young people may not connect with the current targets of cereal-makers,  they are also seeing an interesting trend.

"We do see millennials eat breakfast for dinner, snacking on cereal, rather than having cereal in the morning.”


On Tuesday, Former Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., discussed challenges facing dairy farmers in the state due to trade on "Varney & Co.," but also explained that millennials’ eating habits are impacting dairy farms as well.

“Fewer and fewer young people are eating cereal in the morning and that is an impact on dairy farms as odd as that sounds it’s actually a fact out there. We need more people eating cereal,” Walker said.