Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Millennials Are Saving the Planet, One Kale Salad at a Time

It’s been three years since Beyonce made kale sexy, and vegetables are still growing in popularity. The Huffington Post declared that consumers under the age of 40 are eating 52 percent more vegetables than those of the same age a decade ago. Meanwhile, casual-dining restaurant chains, such as Applebee’s, are losing traction. Following sales slumps and closures, Sally Smith, the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, wrote a letter to shareholders saying that millennial consumers are to blame.

Long considered the technology-obsessed, self-indulgent narcissists of the 21st century, millennials are positioned to inherit significant purchasing power over the next several years. About 80 million Americans are millennials, and they spend approximately $600 billion annually, according to the consulting firm Accenture.

Over the next three years, as more people graduate from college and enter the workforce, millennial spending is predicted to more than double. By 2020, millennials will spend $1.4 trillion annually and represent 30 percent of total retail sales.

So will that money be spent on useless, individualistic gadgets, as some in the older generation fear? Maybe not.

A study by Omnicom Group’s Cone Communications revealed that millennials are more likely than any other demographic to engage in corporate social responsibility. Seventy percent of millennials will pay more for a product that supports a cause they care about, and 60% will take a paycut to work for an environmentally and socially responsible company.

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