What’s (Millennial) Cooking?

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Millennials have taken a lot of flak for the way they live. Previous generations continually disapprove of their smartphone-dependent tendencies, coupled with their incessant need for technology and the internet to survive. However fair or unfair this assessment may be, Millennials do live differently than those who came before them, and they are unashamed to say so. One striking difference between Millennials and previous generations is their cooking habits. For this new generation of at-home cooks, the majority of Millennials tend to rely on their smartphones for help. When Millennials decide to cook for themselves, they rely on smartphones to guide the process of deciding what to cook, locating a recipe and executing the process. Unlike the Baby Boomer Generation, printing off and cataloging recipes to keep for a later time is a non-existent practice.

From a Millennial perspective, there is no real need to keep a collection of recipes when the internet provides unlimited, instantaneous access to millions of recipes. Nevertheless, there’s no denying that Millennials are obsessed with food. This generation is responsible for the rise of terms like “foodie” and “food porn.” (A foodie is someone who shows a particular interest in food, while “food porn” is a term that came about once the Millennial generation started posting pictures of their food on popular social media platforms, such as Instagram, in a glorifying fashion.) Even when they aren’t in the kitchen cooking, Millennials are still food driven. A Millennial doesn’t have to cook the food to appreciate it; they find inspiration and admiration in food differently than other generations.

Another thing older generations may not realize is that the food-obsessed Millennials have also shaped the future of food. Millennials represent the first generation to spend their discretionary income on food, rather than housing and clothing. They are the first generation to advocate so passionately for transparency, honesty and clean ingredients in food, which has caused the surge in health food sales, made eating healthy trendy, and, most importantly, changed the restaurant and fast-food industry for the better. Before the Millennial generation, fast food and pre-packaged foods were never so pointedly called out for what they are — unhealthy and filled with preservatives and unnatural ingredients. In response to the criticism, most major and smaller brands have become more mindful of health concerns, using fresher ingredients and fewer additives, which benefits all.

So, while Millennials may not be the culinary masterminds that the generations before them were — and may not even cook at all — it’s undeniable that they have changed and influenced the food industry in beneficial ways for generations to come.

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