Teen Food Attitudes:

New Survey Reveals Teens Spend 1,000 Hours Thinking About Food

SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (May 30, 2018) – Today’s teenagers spend an average of 1,000 hours, or 39 entire days, thinking about food. With the next bite always on the brain, this has led teenagers to become more involved in family shopping, meal planning and food routines.

The new national survey of 2,000 families with teenagers, ages 13-19, commissioned by Farm Rich, found:

  • Teen palates are becoming more sophisticated, drawing inspiration from social media, parents and cooking shows
  • Parents say 30 percent of the weekly grocery bill is driven by teens’ preferences and eating behaviors
  • Teenagers snack 2-3 times per day
  • The typical teen expresses dissatisfaction with a meal four times a month
  • The favorite meal among teens is dinner

Food for Thought: At Home & Online

While there are lots of sources for food inspiration, parents still play a key role in their teens’ understanding of food, and teens view food as more than just a means of satiating hunger.

  • 7 in 10 teens say parents are their primary source for food knowledge
  • 46 percent of teens surveyed watch cooking shows for food ideas
  • At 27 percent, Facebook is the largest social media source for culinary inspiration among young people, followed by the abundance of food videos on YouTube at 21 percent
  • 72 percent of teens say food is something to enjoy through great taste and flavors
  • As many as 20 percent use cooking as a way to unleash their creativity

The new research confirms that teens are on track to become the next generation of culinary creators, with about 25 percent saying they are experimental and adventurous in the kitchen, and willing to try unique and different foods. And 45 percent of parents share that their teens weigh in often on what should be included in mealtime menus.

“The wealth of information available today at our teens’ fingertips has led this generation to be more knowledgeable and inspired about food than ever before,” says Shannon Gilreath, Farm Rich Director of Marketing. “Our research shows that over 90 percent of teens do actually enjoy family mealtime, which is a great opportunity for parents to engage with them even more when it comes to food choices and time spent together.”

A Moving Target

Moms and dads have their work cut out for them with changing teenage tastes. More than half of the teens surveyed say meals provided by their parents don’t always suit their tastes or dietary preferences. Such attitudes have led parents to consider ‘Meals I know my family will eat’ as the most important factor to consider in family menu planning. And these young people often move the goalposts – more than a quarter (28 percent) have completely changed their diet, asking parents to switch up the menu, according to results.

  • The most popular meal plans for teens are low-carb (38 percent), low-fat (35 percent) and vegetarian (32 percent)
  • Teenagers complain about meals an average of four times a month, or 48 times per year
  • They still snack heavily between meals (2-3 times a day), including these top choices:
    • Chips
    • Fruit
    • Pizza
    • Frozen Snacks

The good news is that, despite these changing diets and preferences, teens consider family time to be very meaningful, with more than 90 percent enjoying sitting down to eat with the family. Dinner is the favorite meal of the day for 65 percent of those surveyed.


To keep the peace while also minimizing wasted food, parents are encouraging teens to put some skin in the game by involving them in the grocery shopping process, asking them to pick out ingredients, and also by giving them a role in planning and preparation. Many will ask teens to help prep for meals and if there are any specific dinner requests from the kids, parents will ask for their assistance preparing that dish. With the average teen now helping mom and dad in the kitchen three times a week, there are strong indications that this generation of gourmands is here to stay.

“The parent-teen relationship will always have its challenges but involving teens in the process of meal planning and prep is a simple way to let them know they’re being heard. Enjoying good food is a language we all speak, and it goes a long way in bonding families together, even during those tumultuous teenage years,” Gilreath adds.

Other key findings from the survey:


  1. Pizza
  2. Tacos
  3. Pasta
  4. Fried Chicken
  5. Steak


  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. Instagram
  4. Snapchat
  5. Pinterest


  1. Parents
  2. TV cooking shows/TV shows
  3. Friends
  4. Commercials
  5. Celebrities and influencers


  1. Meals they know the family will eat
  2. Health
  3. Budget
  4. Time spent preparing/cooking
  5. Ingredients

The Farm Rich-sponsored survey was conducted in March 2018 by OnePoll, with a sample of 2,000 families with teens. For the Teen Food Attitudes survey video, click here.

Editor’s Note: For a copy of the Teen Food Attitudes survey or additional information, please contact Claudia D’Avanzo at davanzo@creativecomminc.com or 404.374.5893

About Farm Rich

A division of Rich Products, Farm Rich is one of the nation’s leading frozen snack and appetizer brands. The company is based in St. Simons Island, Ga., and features a full portfolio of frozen snack and appetizer products sold at grocery and club stores nationwide. Farm Rich Snacks are Real-Life GoodTM, made with wholesome, great-tasting ingredients the whole family loves. For products, nutritional information, recipe inspirations and more, visit FarmRich.com.