The Millennial generation approaches fitness and living a healthy lifestyle in a very different way than previous generations, in large part because of their financial status. According to Goldman Sachs, the average 25 year old in the US is saddled with more than $25,000 in student debt, putting them at a definite financial disadvantage compared to older generations. Millennials, according to PwC’s Millennials and Financial Literary study, are largely displeased with their financial status, worried about debt, and are considered ‘financially fragile’: according to the study, nearly 30% of Millennials surveyed were overdrawing on their chequing accounts.  

Despite this economic fragility, though, Millennials still prioritize spending on health and fitness—according to Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey, more Millennials are doing fitness activities than any other generation. As most can’t afford expensive gym memberships and exclusively organic diets, Millennials are changing the markets for fitness products and health foods, relying on health and fitness tracking apps, group fitness classes, and home workouts, as well as affordable, balanced meals and superfoods that fit into their budgets.

 

Why are oat-based snacks so popular with Millennials?

This shift to affordable healthy lifestyles is a major cause of the growth in popularity of oat-based snacks. The nutritional value of oats is very high. Oats are an affordable natural superfood, containing essential vitamins and minerals. They’re full of fibre, and contain beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that has been shown to reduce cholesterol reabsorption, as well as improving your overall cholesterol. Some studies have also show than oats are helpful in preventing obesity and weight gain. Due to their low price compared to other superfoods and healthy snacks, oats and oat-based snacks are a popular choice for Millennials looking to maintain healthy diets. They also keep you fuller for longer, increasing satiety and preventing over-eating. Technavio expects the global oat-based snacks market to grow at a CAGR of 3.66% from 2017-2021.

In addition to the significant nutritional value of oats, the increasing popularity of oat-based snacks may also be due to vendors’ changing marketing strategies. Oat-based snacks are increasingly being marketed in ways that appeal to Millennials: more vendors have embraced digital marketing in an effective way, ensuing that Millennials are informed about the nutritional benefits of oat-based products, are making more of their products available for purchase online. They’re also using packaging that gives their products a much longer shelf life, encouraging consumers to buy in bulk. Vendors that use biodegradable packaging are expect to grow in popularity with Millennial consumers as well.

 

What types of products are the most popular?

Though the benefits of eating oats can be gained by eating oatmeal, it’s not the most popular oat-based food on the market. According to Technavio’s research, oat-based bakery items and bars make up more than 76% of the total oat-based snacks market. Our research suggests that this is largely because many Millennials don’t have time to prepare oatmeal or other types of breakfast in the morning, and are instead choosing to take on-the-go, healthy bars and other items as a meal substitute. Oat-based bars, especially protein oat bars, are also popular as pre-workout or post-workout snacks with fitness-minded Millennials. Gluten-free oat-based products, as well as oat-based savory snacks, cookies, cakes, and cereals are also expected to see increased and widespread popularity as the global oat-based snacks market continues to grow.

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