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Grocers Should Not Ignore Today's Food-Focused Teens

Cooking demos, store tours and specially tailored retail dietitian programs can shape loyalty early on


A new study of 2,000 families found the average 13- to 19-year-old spends almost 135 hours per year thinking about food and what the next meal will be.

Over seven years of the typical teenage lifespan, young Americans will rack up 945 hours, or 39 solid days, with food on the brain.

The research, commissioned by Farm Rich, found young people are becoming more passionate and vocal about food, and are often interested in family meal planning and routines.

Another survey of parents by OnePoll indicated that 30% of the weekly grocery bill is driven by teens' preferences and eating behaviors.

As many as 46% of teens included in the study said they watch cooking shows to gain food inspiration, and seven in 10 said their parents are the biggest source of their food knowledge.

Seventy-two percent say food is something to enjoy and taste is something to appreciate, and as many as one-fifth use cooking as a way to release their creativity.

More than half (52%) of teenagers polled claimed meals served by their parents don’t always suit their tastes or dietary lifestyle. In fact, teenagers turn their noses up at the meals served at home four times a month on average (48 times per year).

So with all this interest in food, we have to ask: What is our industry doing to reach out to these teens to educate, to empower and to build a relationship? How many stores are doing cooking demos for teens that are led by teens? Or having store tours just for them to discover new foods? Or a retail dietitian program designed for teens?

Let's not wait until they are adults to try to steal them from a competitor.


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