You might have heard that millennials aren’t crazy about bananas.
The Packer’s Fresh Trends 2018 survey shows 64% of folks in the 18-39 age range (millennials are roughly 22-37 years old) say they bought bananas in the past year.
Two-thirds of us buy bananas sometimes — hey, that’s pretty good, right?
But compare that to the more than 80% of shoppers 40 and older who say they bought bananas, and you see that we’re lagging behind, despite now being the largest living generation in the U.S.
The main explanation I hear for this is that millennials are much more conscious of food waste than other generations, thus are less likely to buy something they think will go bad before they can eat it. It’s a valid point, but I eat bananas almost every morning with breakfast, so they rarely have time to get to the inedible stage in my house.
Since I’m not necessarily representative of the typical millennial banana consumer, however, I took an informal Facebook survey of my under-40 banana-liking friends to gain some more insight.
I asked whether and how often they bought bananas, and if not, why not; whether they had kids who ate bananas and whether that had changed their own banana eating habits; their ripeness preference; whether they bought organic or conventional; and what would make them buy more bananas.
Of the 15 people who responded, only one had a preference for organic — everyone else said they either didn’t care or preferred conventional fruit. This surprised me, since the millennial stereotype often includes a preference for organic.
Reasons people gave for this answer ranged from value to flavor, with one respondent saying she thought conventional bananas tasted better.
Singles and couples without kids generally affirmed the food waste theory, with several saying they would buy bananas more often if they didn’t go bad so quickly, or if the bananas were at their personal ripeness preference when they wanted to buy them.
But then the people with kids started answering.
“My kids eat bananas every day. ... We literally go through 3 or 4 bunches of bananas a week,” a friend with four kids responded.
“I love bananas. I buy them several bunches at a time 1-3 times a week. They are a favorite of most of my children too,” replied another, who has eight kids.
“I typically buy 7-10 at a time because (my son) eats about one a day. We are keeping the banana industry in business. He’s a banana-eating fool,” another said.
Many said their personal banana consumption had increased since they became parents, as well.
So though millennials’ overall banana buying stats look lackluster, the odds are good that as more of us become parents, more of us will be buying even more bananas.
Staff writer Ashley Nickle and I discuss these survey results and additional Fresh Trends data in the latest episode of our web series Millennials Eat.
Amelia Freidline is The Packer’s copy chief and designer. E-mail her at [email protected].