FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation

Youth vision on future consumer trends and food systems


Today on the opening day of the UN Food Systems Summit, we are publishing a summary of the research carried out by a group of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) students as part of the National Dialogue in the Russian Federation on preparations for the Summit. The work, carried out on the basis of data from a representative survey in a number of Russian regions, is devoted to the current trends in food consumption among young people.


In order to adapt current food systems to future requirements, we should study and analyse trends of our youth’s consumption habits, which will help shape food subsystems focused on sustainable development. To define these trends, we have to take into account many factors of a “lifestyle” associated with increasing urbanisation and growing income. Furthermore, food’s availability, its prices and the level of cultural and social acceptability of these products strongly influence components of habitual diet.

The research was conducted via Google Forms to conceive current and future demands of the youth for the purpose of development and calibration of business, as well as formation of food policy of governmental and international organizations.

We have received 840 responses, which might not be considered a representative survey by the general public. However, the survey distribution method could not attract more young people. Based on the responses received, 90 percent of survey participants were under the age of 22. Among them, 92 percent viewed their budget as average or higher. Most of the participants were students of economic and management faculties (50 percent), 20 percent were from technical and engineering faculties while 13 percent were from humanities faculty. There was not a huge difference in gender distribution among the participants; 40 percent of participants were male where as 60 percent were female.

Due to the online survey we were able to receive responses from different regions of Russia. However, the majority of the participants were from Stavropol Region, Moscow and the Moscow Region, Krasnodar Region, Vladimir and Omsk Regions. 42 percent of responses were from Stavropol Region, 11 percent were from Moscow and Moscow Region.

Most of the respondents grew up in cities; 25 percent were residents of big cities with a population of over 1 million, 54 percent resided in medium-size cities or small towns.

Over 46 percent of participants estimated the share of their food expenditure to amount to 21-50 percent of their total budget, 35 percent estimated it to be 11-20 percent (Diagram 1). The majority believed their financial ability to provide the desired diet could be assessed as “good” (42 percent) or “perfect” (26 percent).  

Diagram 1 – What part of your income is spent on food?

After a brief study of the average statistical profile of our survey participants, we have formulated the following trends:

1. Young adults used to alter their eating habits in these three particular cases for the following reasons:

a. To keep fit (40 percent);

b. To follow doctor’s recommendation (21 percent);

c. To suit personal choice and ideological convictions (14 percent);

2. The taste of food products is of prime importance to young people (68 percent). The value of the price of the product decreases with an income increase (by 79 percent), and the value of the type of ingredients in the product is more important for residents of large cities (by 13 percent). Additionally, the higher the income, the more attention is paid in learning the composition and nutritional value of the product (Diagram 2); Diagram 2 – What do you most often look for when buying groceries?

3. For the majority of the young people, the characteristics of the food producer is not of any importance, for example, the social contribution of the company or the place of food production (Diagram 3, 4); Diagram 3 – Do you pay attention to the social contribution of the company when buying its food products? Diagram 4 – Do you prefer domestic products?

4. The majority believe that they waste up to 5 percent of food (69 percent); however, with an increase in income and an increase in the frequency of eating meals outside, the share of food wastage increases by 4-5 times (Diagram 5);

Diagram 5 – How much food do you waste?

5. The choice of diet among young adults depends on its taste, price – culture influence on consumption and the availability, therefore more than 40 percent of the survey participants do not control their diet and quality of food (Diagram 6,7).

Diagram 6 – How often do you consume these products (on scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is daily)?  

Diagram 7 – What parameters of food nutritional value do you control?

6. Modern day food has not yet entered the everyday lives of students; however, 12 percent of respondents regularly consume non-dairy milk and 6,8 percent have already added plant-based meat to their diet (Diagram 8, 9, 10).

Diagram 8 – What would you include in your diet?

Diagram 9 – Which milk do you consume regularly?  

Diagram 10 – Have you ever tried plant-based meat?

The main trend among students is the demand for affordable, healthy food. Based on this trend, the government should continue informing and educating people on a healthy lifestyle, especially paying attention to the importance of a high-quality, nutritious diet and its nutritional value. The private sector can and does play a significant role in the shaping of healthy eating habits among the youth. For instance, various brands in western countries utilise global “green” trends in their advertising campaigns for the purpose of competitive advantage.[1]

A complete version of this study with more detailed information can be found here.
Authors: A.Gorkov (leader), A.Vaskova, K.Gimorina, E.Nikoshkova, Y.Trofimenko, N.Aphonina.

[1] 11 Brands With Sustainable Practices To Check Out This Earth Day Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amberlovebond/2021/04/19/11-brands-with-sustainable-practices-to-check-out-this-earth-day/?sh=499afd3c6a0a on 27 August 2021
The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).