Chipotle peppers, hoisin & kimchi: The ‘surprising’ ingredients of choice for Millennials

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / DisobeyArt
© Getty Images / DisobeyArt
Women, and Millennial women in particular, are more interested than ever in global foods and flavors, with ingredients like chipotle peppers, hoisin and kimchi increasingly found on the pantry shelves.

Despite their international palettes, Millennial women are also focused on sourcing ingredients locally, according to results of the Better Homes & Gardens’ Food Factor 2018​ survey, which was conducted nationally in the field in April 2018, with 2,000 U.S. women aged 18 and older.

The survey found that women regularly use ingredients such as chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, fish sauce, hoisin, tamari, and kimchi.

“Over the last few years, we have seen this curious, adventurous generation of home cooks emerge,”​ explained Nancy Hopkins, Food Editor at Better Homes & Gardens in a press release.

“They are breaking away from the norm and seeking diverse, global foods. But while they are cooking with global flavors, their focus is on staying local – sourcing local ingredients and serving friends and family in the comfort of their homes.”


Chipotle Chilis © Getty Images maxsol7
Chipotle Chili - a staple for Millennial pantries. Image © Getty Images / maxsol7

According to the survey, millennials have a strong interest in exploring new foods and recipes, with 93% reporting they try new recipes every month, and 77% stating have an interest in experimenting with new foods. In addition, the survey found that 80% of millennials say they like to cook new regional or ethnic foods, with 40% claiming they cook more regional and ethnic dishes than they did a couple of years ago.

But they are searching for ingredients and food that is produced locally, with 60% reporting that they regularly buy local food, with the top five reasons listed as freshness, taste, supporting local businesses, trusting quality, and knowing where the food came from.

Home rules

The local mindset extends to their lifestyle, and where they are doing the cooking and entertaining. Results of the survey showed that 62% of millennial respondents claim to eat at home more than two years ago, with 93% reporting they eat dinner at home at least four nights per week.

Better Homes & Gardens’ Food Factor 2018 trend study is the sixth from Better Homes & Gardens over the past 20 years. With nearly 40 million readers, Better Homes & Gardens uses the study to take the pulse of how the tastes and habits of American women – especially its 7 million millennial readers - are evolving when it comes to eating, gathering ingredients, cooking and entertaining.

"A sense of confidence that comes with knowing where your ingredients are sourced from"

Commenting independently on the Better Homes & Gardens’ Food Factor 2018​ survey, Keerthana Perumbala, Marketing Associate, Sweet and Beverage, at Sensient Flavors, told us: "With trends like “farm-to-table” on consumers’ minds, many of them either want to grow their own produce or get locally grown ingredients for their needs. This “back to basics” lifestyle is being adopted by urban Millennials as trends like homesteading resurface and draw focus on the idea of sustainability.

"There is a sense of confidence that comes with knowing where your ingredients are sourced from that is expanding to the consumers seeking provenance or origin in market products as well. The idea of a ‘Sicilian lemon’ or ‘Michigan blueberries’ is more appealing than just lemon or blueberry.

"Consumers today travel the world and experience cultures through their meals. There has never been more variety or easy availability of authentic ethnic cuisines from around the world as there is now. While the older millennials grew up experimenting with these global cuisines and developing a palate to enjoy them, younger Millennials and generation Zers have always been in a connected and a diverse, multicultural world. This is not “ethnic cuisine” for them, but just mainstream - think of the cult favorite sriracha. Their experiences have led them to naturally seek diverse tastes and this extends to their cooking habits where global cuisines are a part of their diet even when dining at home."

Multicultural Millennials

According to a 2017 report by Nielsen​, out of the 75 million Millennials living in the US, 42% are of African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic heritage.

The report also stated that the high growth consumer packaged goods categories among multicultural millennials include frozen juices among Asian-American Millennials (167%-dollar growth rates in the 52 weeks ending July 30, 2016), and Baby Food among Hispanic Millennials (57%).

In terms of share of all Millennial dollars, Asian-Americans and Hispanics each make up about 10% of all purchases of dried grains and vegetables.

In terms of flavors, 44% of all Millennials said that “it’s important or essential for their foods to include ‘multicultural flavors.’”

Multicultural Millennials spend upwards of $65bn each year, added the report.

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