There are various definitions for the term of “healthy eating”.
For example, according to Nordqvist (2015), “Healthy eating means consuming the right quantities of foods from all food groups in order to lead a healthy life”.
This means that people should have a balanced diet based on five main food groups, including whole grains, fruit and vegetable, protein, dairy, and fat and sugar (ibid).
Besides, Nikolova and Inman (2015, 817) claim that taking actions related to improve their eating habits has begun to be paid more attention by consumers when nutrition has become a key factor in grocery shopping decisions.
Or in a report of Mintel (2017) about the attitudes towards healthy eating in the UK in 2016, they state that healthy eating is becoming more widespread when there are 63% adult consumers who confirm to eat healthily at least most of time, up from 58% in 2015.
FIGURE 1: How often consumers try to eat healthily, November 2015 and November 2016 in the UK
On the other hand, in a research study about the consumer attitude of Catalina Marketing (2010), they point out that shoppers are quite difficult to change their old purchasing habits, behaviour, and perception despite their knowledge in healthier products.
Furthermore, the consumer behaviour model of Hawkins and Mothersbaugh (2013) also states that the external as well as internal influences play a fundamental role in setting up consumers’ cognitive as well as intention, and lead therefore to their purchase behaviour then.
For example, the consumer definition of “healthy eating” vary from Gen. Y to Baby Boomers with a trend-based meaning such as high protein, high vitamin, etc. of the younger and more traditional definitions like low fat and less calories of older generation (PwC, 2016).
Obviously, the younger pays attention to nutritious products which support them to build muscles mass, balance hormones naturally, and have a healthy and fit body while the elderly’s concerns are related to cardiovascular disease.
This explains why Millennials prefer to buy protein-rich food, including eggs, beef, chicken breast, whey protein shake, dairy products like yoghurt, cheese, etc.
For instance, the elderly is in a quite high demand for calcium and vitamin D to “maintain bone strength and keep bones healthy during older age” (Dairy Council, 2011).
Consequently, they need to consume more calcium-rich food listed as dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt, and non-dairy food like dark leafy greens including spinach, broccoli and collard greens to contribute to maintenance of normal bones, especially when they live in a country which has a little sunlight.
On the other hand, Millennials are aged between 17 and 35 so they do not have to require a high demand for these kinds of food.
Alternatively, the young adults concentrate on the healthy and balanced diet, and prefer to buy chocolate bars, protein milk and kinds of energy drink to support them in building muscles accompanied by gym exercises.
In detail, in a survey of Mintel about the US energy drink market, they point out that older Millennials are the key consumers of many popular beverage brands like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull in spite of concerns about the safety of energy drinks (Bailey, 2015).
Although education make differences in purchasing behaviour between Gen. Y and Baby Boomers in terms of healthy eating, it cannot deny that education also brings some same views among two these generations because they are popular modes.
For example, in some countries where there has still been the appearance of both supermarkets and traditional markets like Vietnam, most of people including the older and younger consumers believe that buying fish, meat, vegetables, and kinds of other seafood like mussel, octopus, shrimp, etc. should be made in markets because they are fresher, more qualified and full of nutrition when compared to frozen and processed ones in supermarkets.
Another example is about the benefits of semi-skimmed milk.
According to Mintel (2016), semi-skimmed milk has still continued to be the most commonly used milk type in the UK because British consumers have been pushed in a long-term time to reduce the saturated fat content consumed on a daily basis and to believe that whole milk is higher-fat.