Millennials are more likely to dine on Italian food than any other generation – because of how good it looks on social media.
The study of 2,000 adults found almost three quarters of 22-35-year-olds describe Italian food as their favourite type of cuisine, compared to just 42 per cent of over 55s.
And while 63 per cent of young adults love Italian food as it tastes good, almost one in 10 enjoy it because of how ‘instagrammable’ it is.
Almost one in 20 also like Italian meals as they can impress friends and family with their cooking, while 15 per cent reckon they can make dishes look luxurious without having to spend too much.
It also emerged millennials dine on Italian meals 11 times a month – more than twice a week – while older adults tuck into just five dishes from the Mediterranean country.
Neil Brownbill, of Napolina, which commissioned the research, said: “Consumers are experimenting more than ever with their food and are seeking out alternatives which enable them to enjoy a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
“Italian food is so versatile and suits a range of different lifestyles, which is why it is seeing a resurgence among younger consumers.
“We know that our consumers are seeking more from us than just the ingredients to create delicious Italian dishes.
“They want us to help them to bring their love of Italian cooking to life.”
The multi-generational study found pizza is the dish millennials think looks the most appealing when it comes to posting on social media, followed by bruschetta, lasagne and spaghetti Bolognese.
Calzone, prawn linguine and pesto pasta are also considered among the most social media-friendly dishes.
The average millennial posts pictures of Italian food on Instagram three times a month and 45 per cent use social media for inspiration when cooking Italian food.
However, while Italian food is seeing a resurgence among millennials, once-loved pizza toppings like pepperoni, ham and pineapple and mushroom are less popular now than 10 years ago.
Despite pepperoni still ‘topping’ the list of favourite pizza accompaniments, its status has decreased by five per cent over the last decade.
Ham and pineapple has also seen a steep decline, dropping 13 per cent in popularity in the last 10 years to now only being the fourth most common choice.
Instead, new flavours like barbeque chicken, sundried tomato and mozzarella and prosciutto are steadily making up ground.
Other more modern pizza flavours which have seen an increase in popularity include goat’s cheese, seafood like prawns or tuna, and halloumi.
The poll, carried out via OnePoll, also saw pizza named the best Italian dish by 62 per cent of respondents.
This was followed by lasagne coming in second favourite choice (51 per cent) and classic Bolognese at third (40 per cent).
But pasta remains a firm favourite when it comes to battle of the carbs as 34 per cent of respondents named it their favourite carbohydrate, followed by bread (22 per cent), potato (18 per cent) and rice (12 per cent).
Neil Brownbill added: “Italian cuisine remains the most popular cuisine in the UK, driving 2.2 billion meal occasions in the last year, and so for us it is essential that we continue to ensure that Napolina remains front of mind when shoppers seek out the Italian aisle.
“We have invested in a major evolution of the Napolina brand, using a new brand design and a television campaign this Autumn to remind consumers that Napolina is the Italian cooking brand in the UK.”
“To encourage consumers to continue experimenting with Italian cuisine, the new Napolina rebrand will provide recipe inspiration on the back of the pack to encourage consumers to make delicious Italian meals at home.”
Top 10 Italian dishes that look the most appealing on social media according to millennials:
1. Pizza (41 per cent)
2. Bruschetta (20 per cent)
3. Lasagne (19 per cent)
4. Spaghetti Bolognese (16 per cent)
5. Caprese salad (14 per cent)
6. Spaghetti carbonara (12 per cent)
7. Calzone (11 per cent)
8. Prawn Linguine (10 per cent)
9. Tagliatelle (8 per cent)
10. Pesto pasta (8 per cent)