What is in this article?:
- Web Exclusive: College Gen Y-ers Set the Stage for Future Food Trends
- More college dining trends
Report finds students craving flavor, comfort, healthful choices, portability.
Today’s college campuses are a good crystal ball for the future of food, according to the recently released Collegiate Gen Y Eating: Culinary Trend Mapping Report by market research publisher Packaged Facts and strategic food and beverage innovation agency CCD Innovation.
The report focused on nearly 20 million 18- to 22-year olds who are currently attending college. They’re part of Generation Y, which by some counts is 73 million strong, with the oldest members just turning 30 and the youngest in junior high.
College students were singled out because of the way they’re exposed to new foods—through new friends, a new culinary region and increasingly, through innovative campus foodservice programs (“Executive chefs change menus daily, respond to student requests and consider a diverse population’s myriad needs,” the report found).
Their new habits will “likely remain long after graduation and become demands on and expectations about the food industry for decades to come,” says Kimberley Egan, CEO/principal, CCD Innovation.
A number of defining drivers rose to the surface of the report. Gen Y college students:
• Are nutritionally minded
• Crave flavorful foods
• Look for comfort and indulgence
• Need speed and convenience
In addition, seven clear themes emerged from the report. These include Dining Along the Meatless Spectrum, The Mighty Chickpea, Nut Butters: A Protein Pal, Fruit and Vegetable Discovery, Asian Love Affair, Italian and Mexican: Familiar Comfort, and On-the-Go Fare.
Dining Along the Meatless Spectrum
For many students, college is a time for new choices. “More students align themselves along the less-meat to meatless spectrum, from flexitarian to vegetarian to vegan and even raw diets,” according to the report. Many students’ new favorite foods are vegetarian and vegan, with such choices as beans and rice, tofu, legumes and veggie burgers being mentioned multiple times in the survey.
The Mighty Chickpea
The chickpea or garbanzo bean first came onto the college scene in the 1960s and 70s, and today’s college-aged vegetarians are discovering it as “inexpensive, versatile and packed with protein,” according to the report. It plays a role in popular cuisines such as Indian, Mediterranean, Latin and Middle Eastern. Hummus, of course, is very popular, and falafel, deep-fried nuggets of ground chickpeas are proving to be a highly flavorful and customizable choice as a snack food especially.