The cool kids like fresh.

A new study by NPD Group finds that young adults plan to eat more salad and other fresh food in the next four years and fewer microwavable meals.

“Generation Z, Millennials and Hispanics will be the growth drivers of this country’s eating patterns over the next five years,” an analyst said about the report called “The Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018?” 

Fresh food — defined as fresh fruits and vegetables, refrigerated meats and eggs — will grow in demand by 6% from 2013-18, compared with 4% population growth over that five-year period, it said.

Indeed, recent produce industry trade shows have featured many new products incorporating fresh items, particularly salads, so it’s clear marketers are seeing this trend.

Just this week you can read about a fresh wrap product based on Ready Pac’s successful Bistro Bowl line, a kale chips kit from WP Rawl and Freshway Foods’ new summer salad line

But it’s not all good news for consumers.

The report said baby boomers’ influence is shrinking as the generation shrinks by 6% in that time period, and Generation X numbers decline by 1%.

That’s deaths to non-demographers.

Millennials (age 24-37) aren’t growing, although their buying power is as they begin earning more. Only Generation Z (23 and younger) can claim growth.

Regardless, these younger generations seem to place more demand on high quality and freshness, and those are qualities the fresh produce industry can deliver.

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