It's a little hard from this article to really get a nice comparison of millennials food spending without controlling for differences in income and total spending on food at home and away from home. Thus, I turned to the data from my Food Demand Survey (FooDS) where we've been asking, for more than three years, how much people spent on food at home and away from home.
Here is a breakdown on spending on food away from home (expressed as a share of total household income) by age and by income. The black and red dashed lines are the two age groups that could be considered millennials. The results show that for incomes less than about $80,000/year, millennials do indeed spend a larger share of their income on food away from home than do other generations; however, the same isn't necessarily true for higher income households. People in the two oldest age categories spend a lower share of their income on food away from home at virtually every income level. For each age group, the curves are downward sloping as suggested by Engle's Law: the share of income spend on food falls as income rises.
The next graph below shows the same but for spending on food at home. For the lowest income categories, the youngest individuals spend more of their income on food at home than do older consumers; however, at higher income levels, all age groups are fairly similar. Coupling the insights from the two graphs suggests that, at incomes less than about $60,000, younger folks are spending more of their income on food (combined at home and away from home) than older folks.
Finally, here is the share of total food spending that goes toward food away from home by age group and income level. In general, as incomes rise, people spend more of their food budget away from home. That is, richer people eat out more. No surprise there.
Generally speaking, consumers younger than 44 years of age spend more of their food budget away from home than do older consumers. The 24-34 year old age group that is firmly in the millennial generation consistently spends more of their food budget away from home than other age groups at almost every income level.