Millennials Are Costing America's Big Food Brands a Ton of Money

By Mike Pomranz |

© Lev Dolgachov / Alamy Stock Photo

Millennials eat differently than the generation that became before them, and those changing tastes are wreaking havoc on America’s established food brands.

According to Fortune’s Beth Kowitt, the US’s top 25 food and beverage brands have lost $18 billion in market share thanks to millennials shifting habits. She opened with the statistic while speaking as part of a panel discussion on “The Food Revolution” at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit.

Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, who also attended, agreed. “Millennials are driving a disruption in the food industry,” she said. “I think we’ll see the food industry turned on its head.”

So what’s driving these changes? The usual culprits said Smolyansky: smartphones and the Internet. Our newfangled phones give younger people tons of information about the food they buy as they’re pulling it off the shelves. “You can now make smarter choices on the spot,” she said.

Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup, discussed the topic from a larger company’s point of view. “I believe consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, how it’s made, and where it’s grown,” she said. “As a company, we’re working on it, and we have a lot more work to do.”

Chances are we’ll see a lot of people doing a lot more work knowing that $18 billion is up for grabs.

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