The New Thanksgiving: How Millennials Are Changing Traditions

Studies have found that Millennials have very particular eating habits, but new research has shown that they tend to follow a culinary path less traveled, distrusting large food companies and choosing more alternative Thanksgiving menus.

A new study by research firm Mintel has found that they’re twice as likely to distrust large food companies than older generations are. Even odder, a recent Yahoo Food survey of more than 1,000 Millennials showed that they’re revolutionizing the Thanksgiving menu.

Mintel found that 43% of surveyed Millennials don’t trust large food manufacturers, such as General Mills, PepsiCo, or Kraft Heinz, while only 18% of older adults distrust large food companies. What’s more, 59% of Millennials said they’d stop buying a certain product if they believed the brand to be unethical.

Mintel also found that Millennials are more likely to take frequent trips to the grocery store, rather than one big weekly trip. Once there, they tend to focus more on freshness and buy fewer processed foods than their older counterparts.

Some of the fresh ingredients they shop for when preparing for Thanksgiving, Yahoo Food found, include more healthful versions of traditionally gluttonous recipes. This should not come as much of a surprise, as past research shows that 89% of surveyed Millennials seek out fast, casual food that they deem healthier, tastier and “more customized” than fast food. Instead of turkey, Millennials are more likely to offer pork, more vegetarian options, or new twists on time-honored staples.

More specifically, nearly half — 44% — said they planned to serve ham instead or in addition to turkey, while 10% plan to have a meatless entree instead of or with their main protein. They’re also twice as likely to skip on the cranberry sauce, too.

If this doesn’t sound like all that fun of a Thanksgiving to you, don’t worry. Millennials know how to have a good time, too. Yahoo Food found that four out of five Millennials plan to have a holiday-themed cocktail or three, and that they still love pumpkin pie, naming it the best Thanksgiving dessert around.

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