Better Homes & Gardens, a flagship brand of Meredith Corp., New York, announced findings from its “Better Homes & Gardens' Food Factor 2018” survey. The nationwide study conducted among U.S. women explored the ever-changing attitudes and behaviors relating to what and how consumers eat, entertain and gather ingredients.

The overarching finding for 2018 is that women, specifically Millennial women, are more interested in global flavors and foods than ever before. However, while their palettes are wide-ranging and international, there is an increased focus on sourcing ingredients locally, including their own backyards. Entertaining and eating at home is also on the rise, reinforcing the idea that local and intimate are important. Millennials want a connection to their food and to be involved in every step of the food journey—from plant to plate.

"Over the last few years, we have seen this curious, adventurous generation of home cooks emerge," says Nancy Hopkins, food editor at Better Homes & Gardens. "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."

Aspiring global

According to the survey, Millennials have a strong interest in exploring new foods and recipes.

  • 93% of Millennials try new recipes every month.
  • 77% have an interest in experimenting with new foods.

Millennial home cooks are inspired by global flavors:

  • 80% of Millennials say they like to cook new regional or ethnic foods.
  • 40% of Millennials are cooking more regional and ethnic dishes than they were 2 years ago.

This shift to more global flavors is now reflected in the ingredients they use on a regular basis. The study finds that common ingredients found on the pantry shelves of Millennials now include:

  • Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Hoisin
  • Tamari
  • Kimchi

Accomplishing local

The study finds that Millennials are looking local to fulfill these global food aspirations. Many are now relying on their own backyards to source their ingredients, with many planning to grow their own ingredients in the near future.

  • 32% of Millennials have grown fruits, veggies or herbs in the past 12 months.
  • 24% plan to grow fruits, veggies or herbs in the next 12 months.

Even those ingredients not homegrown are sourced from places not much further than their own backyards.

  • 55% of Millennials are eating more locally grown or produced foods compared to 2 years ago.
  • 3 out of 5 Millennials surveyed regularly buy local food.

The Top 5 reasons cited for wanting to shop local:

  • Freshness, taste, support local businesses, trust quality, know where the food came from.

This local mindset extends to where they are doing the cooking and entertaining as well. Staying local and intimate with friends matters to Millennials:

  • More than half of Millennial respondents (62%) are eating at home more compared to 2 years ago.
  • Nearly all Millennials (93%) eat dinner at home at least 4 nights per week.
  • 93% of Millennials love to entertain friends and family at home, hosting every 7 weeks on average.
  • 86% say entertaining at home is a lot of fun and better than going out to meet friends.