Are you up on the latest food trends? Is Cajun cooking more popular this year, or is it Szechwan? A lot of food websites will tell you exactly what it is that millennials are craving this week. And often, by next week, that will have changed to something else. How are you supposed to keep up with your food content? Well, if you want that content to remain relevant for a longer period of time, then the trick is not to focus on those specific fads, and instead to look at the bigger picture. When it comes to food, what do millennials care about? What types of recipes are they most interested in, and what do they all have in common? How can you create content that will appeal to them, not just because it’s trendy this week, but because it’s generally relevant? Let’s take a look at a few longstanding food trends that appeal to millennials.
- Making Dietary Restrictions into Advantages. Everyone has that one friend in their group who’s a vegetarian or vegan. And another friend who has to eat gluten-free. And yet another who’s lactose intolerant. And cooking for them is always a challenge. In times past, the menu options for those with special dietary restrictions, whether at restaurants or at parties, were meager and lackluster. But millennials are more sensitive to their friends’ plights, and more effort is being made to provide real recipes that not only accommodate these restrictions, but create recipes that are delicious and worthwhile, even for those who aren’t vegan or lactose intolerant or gluten free. This way, everyone can eat well, and no one has to feel like they got the short end of the stick.
- Food Hacks. Today’s generation doesn’t have time to stand around preparing a five-course, gourmet meal. But that doesn’t mean they want to settle for fast food and frozen dinners. They still want to cook things and experiment in the kitchen—they just don’t have the time, or the expertise, to do so. That’s where food hacks come in. They’re faster, simpler ways of making otherwise complicated dishes. Mug cakes are a prime example. They have all the basic ingredients of a regular cake, but instead of stirring them together in a bowl and then baking them in a pan, you put everything into a coffee mug and microwave it. Then top it with ice cream, and you’re good to go. If you want to appeal to millennials, look for these recipes that take less time, effort, and money, without sacrificing quality or taste.
- Healthy Alternatives. This is similar to the Dietary Restrictions trend, mentioned earlier. But while not everyone is gluten free or vegan, pretty much everyone wants to eat healthier. But they don’t, because that involves giving up their favorite dishes, giving up snacking in between meals, etc. Only millennials are discovering that it doesn’t have to mean that at all. What are some healthy alternatives to the unhealthy dishes and ingredients that everyone loves? What are some snacks that can be munched on throughout the day without guilt—recipes that would be deliciously addictive while still being low fat, high in protein, etc.?
- Unusual Ingredients. Just because millennials want things simple doesn’t mean they’re not willing to experiment. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are becoming more popular, making ingredients readily available that otherwise would be difficult to come by. Incorporating those ingredients into your cooking can make it more exotic and interesting, and even provide you with your latest food addiction that you didn’t know you loved. The dishes are still just as simple to make, but these ingredients that are of the beaten path give them that little something extra to make them stand out.
These are just a few trends that millennials are embracing in their food. Trying to keep up with the latest dish or the latest ingredient is generally a losing battle. Not only are tastes constantly changing, they’re more diverse than ever before. So if you want to appeal to a millennial audience, your best bet is to keep this one simple rule in mind: Just because it’s easy, or healthy, or accommodating to dietary restrictions, doesn’t mean it’s not delicious and worthwhile for everyone.