What to Eat When Having a Millennial over for Dinner

Kelsey L. Conley, Jayson L. Lusk, Craig Gundersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Millenials are the generation everyone is talking about and the generation who loves to talk about themselves. More than just a media buzzword, researchers, marketers, and retailers are interested in how the soon-to-be-largest segment of the population is making food purchasing decisions. This paper uses the difference-in-difference method to determine the causal millennial effect on the share of income spent on various food expenditure categories. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey was used to identify how young people's food expenditures compare to older people's in 2015 and in 1980. Results indicate significant millennial effects that might have policy implications for future health care spending. Millennials have higher demand for cereal, beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and fresh fruit and lower demand for other food, and for food away from home relative to what would have been expected from the eating patterns of the young and old 35 years prior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-70
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Millennials
  • consumer
  • food demand
  • food marketing.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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