Millennials & Gen Z Have A New 'Splurge' Item And It's Actually Very Sad – 'The Gaslighting Is Out Of Control'

Forget fancy vacations, new cars, and homes — this new item has become a "splurge."

Gen-Z man grocery shopping while on his phone. hedgehog94 /

Business Insider article published in early April has sparked controversy after labeling groceries as the hottest new "trendy splurge item" for Gen Zers and millennials. Coming across as overly judgmental, the article indulges readers on the spending habits and tendencies of these younger generations, suggesting they’re "choosing" to spend money on luxurious groceries instead of other "splurge" items like vacations or gifts.


While they acknowledge the influence that inflation has on grocery prices for all age groups, they specifically call out younger generations for “spending more” on food items. But the question remains: are they intentionally splurging on groceries, or is it out of pure necessity to eat?

Millennials and Gen Zers are apparently ‘splurging’ on a new item, and it’s a reminder of our unsettling, sad reality.

“The absolute audacity they have to post an article like this,” food author Michael Hayes remarked on TikTok, suggesting they’re gaslighting younger generations into feeling shameful for buying groceries. “Apparently, us millennials and Gen Z are living the dream.”


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The article did not mention rising rent costs, the inability to purchase homes, or insurmountable student loan debts. Instead, it focused on purchasing groceries. Apparently, Gen Zers are “splurging” by spending more than older generations on luxury food items which adds fuel to the fire of negative discourse about their spending habits.

Some, of course, admit they purposefully choose to buy more expensive items at the grocery store, but it’s not because they’re irresponsible. “I can’t afford a European summer trip,” one commenter noted, “but I can get the better reusable olive oil that’s not clogging my arteries. Hooray!”


Most younger millennials and Gen Zers are ‘splurging’ on groceries, but not because they want to. 

Reports suggest the average American household spends nearly $500 a month on basic groceries, which seems mindbogglingly low. It's logical that anyone choosing whole, natural foods and organic fruits and vegetables is bound to spend more. That's not a generational choice. That's a healthy choice. 

We all have to eat; that’s not an option, and unfortunately, in our country, the most affordable options can sometimes be the most unhealthy.

Couple looking concerned looking at grocery store receipt. People Images Yuri A /


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As food costs rise, people are questioning their food security and making choices that hurt their health to simply put food on the table. On top of rent, bills, healthcare, and other essential costs, food has become the sacrifice.

It’s not financial irresponsibility; it’s just the sad reality many people have to face, including younger people.

Many people claim this ‘sad reality’ of splurging on groceries has severe consequences.

Thanks to the media, many younger generations are getting wise about the quality of food in the U.S. In a sort of Orwellian revolution, many Gen Z and millennials have been forced to confront the importance of organic and whole foods both in their diets and for the planet.


The typical American diet in the U.S. is composed of roughly 60% processed foods — from sodas to pre-packaged meals. Many people have been forced to weigh convenience and cost with overall health and nutrition.

@sin.blossoms They used to demonize us for eating avocado toast, now its for buying groceries 😂🤣 #millenial #genz #eathealthy #eat #groceries #healthcare #capitalism #deconstruction ♬ original sound - Sin Blossoms 🧿

In addition to alarming statistics about decreasing quality and nutrition in American foods, research on post-pandemic food costs suggests that most “healthy food” options, like those offered in stores like Whole Foods and produce markets, have grown exponentially compared to “unhealthy” options like fast food and typical grocery store foods.

So, while healthy food prices have grown inaccessible and expensive for everyone, younger generations are more likely to “splurge” on them, considering the wealth of knowledge they’re exposed to about their importance. “We consistently have to spend more money on groceries in the United States, just to not be poisoned,” Kimberly Stover on TikTok explained. “We spend money to make sure we aren’t poisoning our bodies because it’s also expensive to get sick.”


So, while critiques of younger generations buying avocado toast and take-out coffees dominate much of this conversation, these younger generations’ experiences are a humbling reminder of the sad reality. Instead of vacations, retirement planning, and homeownership, Gen Zers and millennials are forced to break the bank on food because that's their only option.

RELATED: Struggling Mom Says Her Picky 9-Year-Old Is Destroying Her Finances Because Her Taste In Food Is So Expensive

Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.