The Lab progress updated - Glance to what we have found out so far

It's all about the research team's findings today! Until this very moment, our research team has proudly gathered a lot of findings from scientific papers, giving us insights of young adults, their mindsets, eating habits and many aspects that affect their decision-making processes from numerous sources. That being done, The Lab's progress is noticeably keeping its track towards gaining a deep understanding of young adults, food production, and sustainability.

Healthy diet as a Greek

It is found that among a wide diversity of cultures and countries, sustainability is defined differently. The Greek consider the meals that have been constantly consumed since their childhood are considered the sustainable ones. It explains the resistance to change among the Greek in terms of diets. In other words, it is very difficult for them to switch to any other diet which is different from what they have been accustomed to.

Factors interfering decision-making of young people

Taste - It is concluded that taste plays a key role in determining young people to buy food. If the taste is not up to expectation, there will be no reason for them to repurchase. From the food producers' perspectives, one of the priorities is to consider taste as their quality indicator. The taste should impress people, even better than what people have been expecting.

Lifestyle - Millennials are always in a rush, they do not have enough time to invest in a proper meal, thus it is always the case that they prefer on-the-go food while putting taste as one of the priorities to choose what they eat. Although having a tasty meal and consuming ready-to-go food at the same time seems to be contradictory, this is a potential direction to develop a food type that attracts millennials if those needs are satisfied. Most millennials believe in the word of mouth, they are more likely to buy food that has been recommended by their family, friends or simply will follow trends created on social media. Millennials vastly concern about time, but they also care for their well-being, they like to explore the Internet and search for simple, easy-to-cook recipes. Lastly, different lifestyles result in a diversity of eating habits, which should be added to one of the points for further research to prove.

Price - Surprisingly, young people are well aware of sustainability, they would love to use recyclable products and organic products. However, some articles show that young people can’t afford sustainable food due to the high price, which resists them from buying the food, so once the price is compromised, it will be a breakthrough to overcome the limits.

Label - Another component that affects consumers' buying decision is labelling, they care about what is inside the food they are consuming and what ingredients is the food made from. Whatsoever, since it requires detailed comprehension of food to understand the labels, some people will find it inconvenient to look up labelling information. Overall, more generalized labelling should be generated as a critical factor to deliver food insights to consumers and encourage their buying decisions.

Awareness - Young people eating habits are affected by their awareness of food choices and their trusts in the food system, they are aware of food-related properties such as sustainability, environment and animal welfare. They are also concerned about the food sources and their origins, care about the benefits of the local farmers, and they would love to know about how companies show empathy to the environment, becoming factors that should be labelled on food.

Sustainable eating in millennials’ perspective

Millennials own a clear awareness of the environment. Yet, at the end of the day, they will not choose to buy sustainable food if the price is unaffordable regardless of how they care for the environment. Most people think that sustainable food has a lot of nutrition, but young people views define sustainable food by ethics, and that is one of the main reasons they buy sustainable food. During the Corona situation, people are even more aware of package, hygiene, seasonal food. They care about what lies inside the package, whether or not it is sustainable, for example, vegan food might taste like meat but what is it made of. Regarding meat consumption, some people do not want to eat red meat, some find it is no problem to do so. This has brought us to the assumption that if we successfully make sustainable food that tastes great, it would be very likely lead to more consumption in young adults.

Millennials’ traits that shape their consuming behaviours

  • Personalization is a must: young people prefer to individualize their diets

  • Eating is not just eating: they like to integrate eating with other activities such as entertainment, leisure that create pleasant emotions while eating

  • Love sharing: millennials like to go out for social sharing, for mix-culture learning, so their food choices are not limited to one or two cultures

  • Know their focus: they understand themselves and what they want, specifically, based on their focus on food, 4 groups of young consumers are formed as followed

  1. Committed to sustainability

  2. Care about health, nutrition, ingredients and healthy recipes

  3. Active, flexible and efficient lifestyles that prefer simple recipe from social media

  4. Social foodies that link eating with emotional experience

Problems in choosing sustainable food

Young people hate greenwashing, but it is becoming harder to recognize, because sometimes the companies concern more on the packaging, making them look sustainable, recyclable, but does not have much impact on the product itself. People who buy different labels have different preference on the characteristics. For example, between EU quality label and organic label, people buying organic label concern about whether the packaging is recyclable or not while the EU label does not, leading to different importance and expectation for different consumer groups.

Young people perceive the concept of sustainability is something natural, organic, so GMO food does not necessarily stand for sustainable food.

Potential food development

Analysis on millennials and Gen Z always intersect with respect to the objectives and what to find in the research, but there is a lack of data every time, so scientific findings is are not so important to find eating patterns and preferences of generation. What's more important is to gain information from a large enough group of millennials and Gen Z to get proper and valid data.

In the future when the problem with food is too severe, we might as well start eating insects. In which case, the role of the chef is no more processing food but playing with the taste. They will be playing as a food magician to make crappy food tastes good, deciding whether that food will be accepted and consumed by the customers.

Overall, there are factors that drive young people's buying decision. If these are considered and embed into the traits of future food innovations, young people will be likely to choose sustainable food rather than non-sustainable ones.

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