Millennial Brand Favorites Revealed in New Survey

woman laughing while standing beside Gatorade bottlles

Millennials’ favorite food and beverage brands in 2021 highlight a taste for convenience, comfort, and quality with a focus on affordability. The popularity of private labels and non-traditional retailer formats are also on the rise.

Millennials, which are widely considered to include individuals born between 1981 and 1996, are the first generation to come of age in the new millennium, as noted by Pew Research Center.

Here’s a roundup of millennials’ favorite food-related brands in 2021, based on branding agency Moosylvania’s new top 100 survey.


Mass merchandisers topped the retail category, with Amazon (#3), Walmart (#4), and Target (#6) all listed in the top ten.

Other favorite food-related retailers by rank include:

  • Kroger (#29)
  • Aldi (#43)
  • Costco (#56)
  • Trader Joe’s (#60)
  • Great Value (#69)
  • Dollar Tree (#73)
  • Whole Foods (#77)

“In the last few years, we’ve seen the inclusion of private labels, like Great Value, Walmart’s grocery brand,” Andrew Cohen, chief strategy officer at Moosylvania told The Food Institute. “There has also been an increase in the number of big-box grocery chains including Kroger, Aldi and Whole Foods.”


McDonalds and Starbucks tied for the top restaurant position among millennials, at No. 15 overall on the list. Other restaurant favorites by rank include:

  • Chick-fil-A (#17)
  • Taco Bell (#25)
  • KFC (#34)
  • Burger King (#41)
  • Pizza Hut (#58)
  • Wendy’s (#63)
  • Chipotle (#80)
  • Arby’s (#90)

“In 2021 specifically, there’s been an increase in the number of fast-food brands on the list from Arby’s and KFC to Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle,” Cohen noted. “Whether or not we can connect that directly to the pandemic is still to be determined.”


Coke claimed the top slot for favorite beverage brand among millennials at No. 10 overall in the survey, followed by Pepsi (#12), Dr. Pepper (#55), and Mt. Dew (#69). Red Bull (#87) and Monster Energy (#100) also made the list, as energy drinks remain popular among millennial customers.

In the snack space, favorite brands include:

  • Hershey (#35)
  • Doritos (#65)
  • Nestle (#90)
  • Kraft (#99)


Non-traditional retail formats are also gaining traction, with younger shoppers showing more interest in discount stores like Grocery Outlet.

“[It’s] like a TJ Maxx for groceries, where the treasure-hunt and value combination are appealing,” Jennifer Bartashus, senior analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, told The Food Institute. “Dollar stores are also selling a lot of grocery products since the small stores are quick, easy to navigate, and offer value.”

Online-only marketplaces are increasing in popularity, too. “Thrive Market, Fresh Direct, or Imperfect Foods offer convenience and tap into the higher digital engagement millennials have,” said Bartashus.