Millennials aren't buying carrots, according to data from The Packer's Fresh Trends, and I've got a few theories. My colleagues Ashley Nickle and Amelia Freidline from The Packer delved into this topic in their latest Millennials Eat! video, too.
First of all, how bad is it?
21 percentage points bad
According to Fresh Trends 2018, only 49% of our youngest age group, 18-39 -- roughly Millennial age -- bought carrots. That's compared to more than 70% in the other three age groups.
That's even worse than bananas, and I harp on Millennials and bananas all the time.
So, what's going on here?
Is it baby peeled carrots? I hate to point it out, but many of us in this 18-39 age group were introduced to carrots via baby peeled with ranch for snacking. They're still an extremely popular part of the category, but if we're not seeing these kid consumers converting into purchasers when they're in charge of the grocery shopping, carrots aren't going to stay in the top 5 vegetables among consumers.
Not too long ago, I polled friends on Facebook (My UBER SCIENTIFIC way of tracking trends) about whether or not they buy carrots, and if they like baby peeled carrots. Most of them said they don't, to both.
One friend said something that I think aligns with a lot of Millennial experts we hear at conferences.
"Baby-peeled carrots feel like carrot fraud, especially when you find out how they're made," she said.
That's a meme I've seen make the rounds on social media quite often, and people seem shocked that "baby peeled" carrots are actually full grown, cut and polished carrots. C'mon folks. This seems pretty self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised. We give consumers way too much credit sometimes.
(FYI: Western Growers has a fantastic explainer video about baby peeled carrots in its series of grower member features. You should check them out.)
What else is going on?
While the traditional carrot market seems flat, when it comes to flashiness and popularity, rainbow carrots have been expanding rapidly.
Check out this article we had last summer about rainbow carrots.
It also could be that Millennials don't cook enough to enjoy cooked carrots.
These are just theories. I'd love to hear yours.