The millennial generation has taken the biggest interest in environmental concerns since the generations of the 60’s and 70’s. With the population growing exponentially the impact on the environment has been well documented. Millennials have taken the initiative to decrease their carbon footprint and limit their impact on the environment. Most people understand the benefits of eating right, however, many don’t realize the effect our eating habits have on the health of the earth. There are many ways the younger generations are trying to preserve the environment. Those in the food industry will be smart to take notice of these habits and capitalize on the current trends to grow your restaurant business.
Animal products have a tremendous impact on the environment and can use far more resources than their vegan counterparts. The amount of food it takes to raise animals could easily feed far more people than the meat they produce. Methane given off from cattle has also been linked to ozone depletion. Aside from fresh meat, there is a significant amount of energy used to process animal products into additives for other foods. Also, the fact that local farms make up a very small percentage of the meat products available, the means to ship these products also has a negative impact on the environment.
Whole foods lack chemicals and additives which can be harmful to produce. There is also less processing and packaging involved. Purchasing whole foods cuts down on the amount of other products that are produced to supplement them and limits factory waste.
Another way millennials have chosen to eat green is by choosing quality over quantity. Selecting more nutrient rich foods allows them to eat a reduced amount which helps to save resources. Healthier foods also tend to be produced in less harmful ways as they typically involve less processing.
The amount of packaging used for manufactured goods has already had a tremendous impact on the environment. According to the EPA, Americans produce upwards of 254 million tons of trash per year. While it’s an improvement, only about 34 percent of this material is recycled. A lot of this has to do with packaging that has limited recycling potential. Millennials are choosing to purchase products that require little packaging or those that use biodegradable alternatives.
Purchasing locally grown produce can greatly reduce ones carbon footprint. This also goes for meat that is raised by local farmers. These products save the environment through the reduction of energy and preservation costs associated with shipping.
While most Americans are used to being able to buy anything at any time, doing so can actually have a negative impact on the environment. Many of the products made available countrywide are often imported from far off places where those products have different seasons from local markets. Choosing to purchase products that are in season within your area reduces the energy output needed to ship in imported produce.
One of the biggest trends popping up in neighborhoods everywhere is turning your lawn into a home garden. Having a home garden allows you to control the amount of resources used to grow produce as well as the quality. Millennials are particularly enamored with organic products. Having your own garden ensures you know exactly what goes into growing your food.
According to banthebottle.com, Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. Only 23 percent of these were recycled. The younger generations have taken heed of this and have begun to use non-disposable containers and reusable filters.
Another major trend in the food industry are environmentally conscious restaurants. People are choosing to frequent restaurants who have proven to care about the earth. This can include organic foods, local distributors, recycled building materials and energy efficient equipment. This is an important trend for the food industry to take into account as more consumers are becoming environmentally aware.
How To Reach The New Generation
Marketing to millennials can be difficult for those in the food service industry. Taking note of trends and what they’ve determined as important political and environmental issues can help. The green movement is a commonality among most millennials. Using this as a focus can help you to appeal to the younger generations, but it needs to be genuine. Transforming your business to become environmentally friend can be costly, but well worth the investment. Consider a merchant cash advance from Quikstone Capital Solutions to help your business reach the younger generations more effectively. For more ways to grow your restaurant business download our Restaurant Investment Guide.