College Students Shaping Tomorrows Culinary Trends

August 14, 2012

3 Min Read
College Students Shaping Tomorrows Culinary Trends

ROCKVILLE, Md.College Millennials current needs for powerful nutrition, flavorful food, comfort and indulgence, and speed and convenience are driving their food choices which, in turn, shape the culinary trends of tomorrow, according to a new report from Packaged Facts and CCD Innovation.

According to the Collegiate Gen Y Eating: Culinary Trend Mapping Report", innovative campus foodservice, adventurous global cuisine restaurants and the influence of new friends will help shape new eating habits of more than 20 million 18- to 22-year-old U.S. college students. With its campus food courts, self-serve bars, and convenience stores along with plenty of nearby cheap global eats, offers students an exceptional opportunity to experience new foods, flavor profiles and eating styles.

Just as minds expand in the classroom, palates expand in college and are forever altered. The food industry will need to respond to these adventurous consumers as they leave campus and start earning their own paychecks," said Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD Innovation, which conducted several online quantitative research studies in late 2011 and Spring 2012 at a number of college campuses nationwide.

The report outlines four major needs and seven culinary behaviors or preferences this cohort are developing that are distinct from previous generations. The seven culinary behaviors include:

  • Profile 1: Dining Along the Meatless SpectrumMore students align themselves along the less-meat to meatless spectrum from flexitarian to vegetarian to vegan and even raw diets.

  • Profile 2: The Mighty ChickpeaInexpensive, versatile and packed with protein, the worldly chickpea fills student bellies in myriad ways.

  • Profile 3: Nut Butters: A Protein PalAlthough Gen Y students grew up in a climate of peanut distrust due to the increase in childrens allergies, college students today have embraced peanut butters valuable protein power along with that of other nut butters, especially almond.

  • Profile 4: Fruit & Vegetable DiscoveryNew college students are discovering a whole new world of fruits and vegetables. On campus they encounter expansive salad bars, unfamiliar vegetable side dishes and unusual vegan and vegetarian fare. Friends, restaurants and student retail haunts like Trader Joes introduce them to new dried fruit snacks, to-go salads and produce-centric beverages.

  • Profile 5: Asian Love AffairWe hear so much about how younger Millennials have grown up eating global cuisine. From our survey, we learned many continue the discovery in college. Thanks to dining halls and nearby ethnic restaurants, students have many opportunities to try new foods. While flavor is the primary driver, other qualities attract students such as the vegetarian possibilities and robust amount of vegetables. Customization is another draw.

  • Profile 6: Italian & Mexican: Familiar Comfort While college is a time to explore new foods and diets, its also really stressful. Sometimes a kid needs a little comfort, something familiar, warm and filling. Thats where Italian and Mexican cuisines come in.

  • Profile 7: On-the-Go FareEasy to make." Portable." Eat quickly." Eat as I walk to class." These are the refrains coming from our student survey respondents about their go-to" foods.

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