Millennials are a health- and environmentally-conscious generation, seeking out organic and fair trade items at much higher rates than Gen X or Baby Boomers. But the one category where Millennials‘ eyes win out over their ethics? Chocolate.
According to a recent study conducted by the journal Food Quality and Preference, Millennials may say that they care about ethical issues like environmental sustainability and social responsibility when it comes to chocolate, but their purchases say otherwise. When choosing chocolate privately, the same socially-conscious Millennials showed little preference for labels advertising ethical sourcing and instead preferred labels with recognizable ingredients.
This isn’t necessarily a huge surprise, considering that “when people choose to consume candy, they’re not usually making a choice to consume something healthy or good for them in the first place,” said psychologist Michael Young, co-author of the chocolate study, to NPR.
But, like so many other generational trends, this was not consistent with the Millennial generation and requires more attention. In fact, the study found that younger Millennials (ages 18 to 20) expressed little concern about anything other than their chocolate preferences, but older Millennials did, in fact, show preference towards organic, fair trade, GMO-free, and environmentally sustainable ingredients.
It seems as if this preference for environmentally-conscious ingredients is dependent on life stage, so it will be interesting to see if younger Millennials’ tastes change as they get older.