Food & Agri

15 march 2024

Generational Gastronomy: Understanding Unique Eating Habits

This article is part of a series of short blogs by the Food & Agri team of Anders Invest. Here, we outline our perspectives on key themes that are relevant to the Food & Agri sector and explain how we try to make an impact with our portfolio companies and investment strategies. In this piece, we delve into the various generations: Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980), Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), and Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012). What makes their eating behavior unique? And what trends and similarities emerge?

Health: A Cultural Shift

Health is a universal value, but the way different generations approach it varies significantly. For Baby Boomers healthy eating is central, especially because they are becoming older and are developing age-related ailments. Therefore, they see food as a way to improve their quality of life and stay healthy for longer. When looking at the advantages Baby Boomers want to gain from food, these mostly relate to reducing the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. In order to achieve this, the Baby Boomers in are likely to focus on natural foods and are motivated to practice what they preach in terms of maintaining a healthy diet. While Gen X also sees healthy eating as central and wants to improve their quality of life to stay healthy longer, Gen X’s approach is slightly different and is focused on having a healthy weight and following weight loss diets more than other generations.


In contrast, Millennials and Gen Z are more aware of a holistic approach to health, where mental health is seen as equally important as physical health, which can for example be explained by the fact that these two younger generations report to experience more stress and mental health issues than Gen X and Baby Boomers. In practice, this means that Millennials and Gen Z are becoming more aware of the link of e.g. sugary foods to depression or of caffeine excesses to anxiety, thus leading them to avoid such foods. Furthermore, their holistic view also means that a big part of Millennials and Gen Z believe that a healthy diet is about more than calorie counting and following restricting diets. For example, many people within these generations believe that calorie counts on food packaging can have a bad effect on mental health. Though Millennials and Gen Z thus view health as having both a physical and mental component, there are also some differences in their attitudes towards food. Millennials on one hand, prefer fresh and unprocessed foods and are the biggest buyers of fortified foods, so foods with added vitamins and minerals. For Gen Z, one of the most important benefits they seek from food is to improve their sleep and downtime.

Dining Out: The Evolution of Dining Experiences

The restaurant landscape is undergoing a transformation driven by the preferences of different generations. While Baby Boomers and Gen X prefer rare but luxurious dinners with more traditional tastes and dining concepts, with gen X sometimes enjoying personalized twists to well-known meals. Millennials and Gen Z focus more on the experience and social aspect. Convenience is also paramount for these two generations. Gen Z and Millennials are aptly dubbed the convenience generations, and this concept aligns well with their dining preferences: they seek accessible moments of enjoyment that fit their busy lifestyles. They spend significantly more on dining out than older generations, but simultaneously have a smaller disposable income. This explains the growing popularity of affordable and informal dining establishments among Millennials and Gen Z.

Engagement: Food for Thought

An notable trend among Millennials and Gen Z specifically, is their increasing engagement with the societal impact of food. While all generations indicate that they consider this important, Millennials and Gen Z  clearly place the most value on this. For Gen Z, food even is a way to express themselves;  the majority says that the food they consume is indicative of who they are and that they can use food to show their identity and beliefs.

They value transparency, sustainability, and social responsibility in the brands they support and want to know their food choices have a positive impact on the world around them. This also greatly influences the loyalty they feel towards a brand, as a large portion of these two generations expresses willingness to pay more for a company that makes a positive impact. Their loyalty directly translates to the problems Millennials and Gen Z view in the world and their relationship towards food. Gen Z for example, is most worried about the environment and climate change, followed by Millennials. In this case, it is interesting that Millennials have more positive ideas towards the impact they can make, as they are most likely to believe that their food choices have an impact on the environment. Another slight difference between Millennials and Gen Z is that Millennials have an additional preference for smaller brands, while Gen Z supports brands that reciprocate their personal values, regardless of size.

Digital savviness: Finding Balance in Food Choices

Digital culture plays an increasingly large role in eating behavior, which is especially the case among Millennials and Gen Z: from restaurant reviews to nutritional information to new recipes, they use social media both to gain and share food-related information, like new recipes from different cultures to sharing pictures of their food online. Gen Z mostly turns to social media like Instagram and TikTok to gain advice on for example healthy eating, as they feel like they lack information from the government, educators and the food industry.  Millennials on the other hand also use social media, but tend to put more trust in online apps and tools to help them improve their diet and physical wellbeing. A downside of social media and the constant influx of information is that Gen Z in particular, can feel overwhelmed, also when it comes to food. They want to consume food that looks good on pictures, while also being sustainable, ethical and socially conscious and if possible healthy. This leads to people in this generation often struggling to make, what they feel, is the right choice. Companies that can provide clarity in this regard, will therefore be ahead with Gen Z.

Each Generation Has a Unique Need

These food trends demonstrate how the Food & Agri sector is adapting to the changing preferences and values of different generations. It's clear that there's no one-size-fits-all approach; successful companies will need to adjust to the unique needs of each generation, whether it's related to health or engagement and whether it is inside the house, or out (and about).

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04 june 2024

Food & Agri

Unfolding CSRD This article is part of a series of short blogs by the Food & Agri team at Anders Invest. This article is specifically written for individuals and companies that are interested in or affected by CSRD. In total, 50,000 companies will need to comply with this legislation in the coming years. Additionally, companies who do not need to report will face additional pressure to supply information and data regarding their sustainability performance from B2B customers. Are you involved with a company that will need to comply with the CSRD or needs to generate impact data? Then this article is meant for you. Let’s unfold it’s basic concepts together.   The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is a piece of legislation developed by the European Union which passed on January 2023. Starting January 1, 2024, CSRD intends to ensure that large and listed companies will  report and disclose sustainability information in an elaborate and consitent framework in their management reports. It builds upon previous legislation through: an extended scope including a gradual integration of large companies, standardized requirements, assurance requirements, a digital format, and integration into management reports. Given the extensive scale of the directive, it is very likely that most companies are affected by this directive (either directly or indirectly). Let’s put together some basic concepts in this article to unfold CSRD and understand it’s mechanisms. Why did CSRD came into effect? CSRD aims to address climate change, stakeholer salience and governance malpractises. The driving force behind the CSRD is the European Union's ambitious goal, as outlined in the European Green Deal, to become the first climate-neutral continent and achieve a pollution-free environment by 2050. The Green Deal is the overall sustainable growth strategy of the EU. To direct capital to investments that drive sustainable solutions, the EU made an Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth (APFSG) which consists of a set of policy initiatives. To prevent greenwashing and set aligned activities for sustainable investments, the EU taxonomy regulatory framework came into effect in 2020. Basically, CSRD is required to increase transparancy through disclosure of sustainability information, enabling EU taxonomy to work. Overall, CSRD’s goal is not to report for the sake of reporting, but for the sake of transitioning to a green economy with the relevant public information to do so. However, it is difficult to asses how much of the effort will be translated to actual impact. How will CSRD impact the business climate of Europe? Starting in 2025, the first companies need to report on their ESG impacts and opportunities over the year 2024. CSRD compliance is phased in, depending on the type of company. The first report year for the application of the new regulations will be structured as follows: In 2025, companies already subject to the previous non-financial reporting standards, particularly large public-interest entities with more than 500 employees. The subsequent year, 2026, marks the inclusion of other large companies, specifically those with over 250 employees. By 2027, the reporting requirements will extend to include listed Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Finally, in 2029, non-EU companies generating more than €150 million in revenue within the EU will also be required to comply with these reporting standards. Gradually, more than 50.000 companies will need to report a maximum of 11.000 datapoints per year. The European Reporting Advisory Group (who prepared the standard) estimates that the one-off costs are around €287.000 and recurring cost are €319.000 for companies the first companies to start in 2025. For later companies the costs are €146.000 (one-off) and €162.000 (recurring). As you can see, the amount of work and costs involved with the mere compliance, let alone impact, are significant. Next up, what is in the actual report? What will be in the report? Before CSRD, the annual report consisted of a management report, followed by an audit report and financial statements. The sustainability statements are based on the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) and consist of General Information (ESRS-1), General Disclosures (2), Environmental information (ESRS-E), Social Information (ESRS-S), Governance Information (ESRS-G). Thus, CSRD is the piece of legislation as directed by the EU, ESRS are the standards that specify what to report.                List of topical standards: ESRS E1 Climate change ESRS E2 Pollution ESRS E3 Water and Marine Resources ESRS E4 Biodiversity and Ecosystems ESRS E5 resource use and circular economy ESRS S1 Own Workforce ESRS S2 Workers in the value chain ESRS S3 Affected communities ESRS S4 Consumers and end-users ESRS G1 Business Conduct ESRS 1 and 2 serve as a guideline for the general sustainability reporting. The cross-cutting standards define the information to be disclosed about material impacts, risks and opportunities related to sustainability aspects. An understanding of the structure, concepts and general requirements for the preparation and presentation of sustainability information is to be reported. For the topical standards, one is required to conduct a double materiality assesment to map impact, risks and opportunities in relation to the different topics. All topics that are material in the value chain of the company have to be reported and substantiated with data. Accordingly, all topics whose impacts are either materially related to the environment or society (impact materiality, inside-out) or which have a short-, medium- or long-term financial impact on the company and can thus significantly influence the company's development and performance (financial materiality, outside-in) have to be reported. Once all material points are covered, the report will be auditted by an external assurance party. As you may see, it will prove difficult to operationalise this directive and the amount of abbreviations by itself is a real headache. In the next article, we will go in more detail on the impact on the business landscape for Food & Agri and what our strategy involving CSRD is.

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02 may 2024

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