The top 17 food brands millennials love

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Why Millennials Matter

Millennials make up a crucial group of consumers.

Ad agency Moosylvania asked over 3,500 millennials — defined as 20 to 35-year-olds — to select their favorite brands over the past three years.

Great Questions, LLC helped rank the winning brands.

These brands are the food brands that came out on top.

Some are surprising — others, not so much.

17. Nestle

Headquarters: Vevey, Switzerland

Why it's hot: Nestle's Nescafe created "social art" in Croatia by placing its red mugs all over the city. This, Moosylvania says, appealed to millennials. Nestle also manufactures many popular candies.

16. Subway

Headquarters: Milford, Connecticut

Why it's hot: Subway has long reigned supreme when it healthy fast food, but recently, Chipotle has dethroned the chain. Still, the brand has considerable popularity.

15. General Mills

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

Why it's hot: General Mills' Fiber One brand has been nailing its marketing, with its funny ads, and its socially-driven contest like #FiberOneCheesecake, which gave users the opportunity to win cheesecake for an entire year.

14. Wendy's

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Why it's hot: One of Wendy's recentmarketing campaigns was ultra-focused on millennials, with the young "Red" character in commercials and new items like pretzel cheeseburgers. Wendy's has always emphasized being fresher than competitors, making every burger to-order and not freezing beef. In the era of Chipotle, this message resonates with millennials.

13. Trader Joe's

Headquarters: Monrovia, California

Why it's hot: Millennials love Trader Joe's. Organic food, unique products, and low prices make it a hot destination for millennials. It also boasts its own unique personality — be it the Hawaiian shirts or the pun-laden signs around the stores.

12. Pizza Hut

Headquarters: Wichita, Kansas

Why it's hot: Pizza Hut tested out movie-projector boxes in Hong Kong, proving that the brand is always looking to innovate. Pizza Huts wacky pizzas, like its Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza, certainly set sparks of intrigue (and maybe disgust) flying throughout social media and the Internet.

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1. Volkswagen

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2. Blackberry

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3. American Apparel 

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4. Cosi

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5. Aeropostale 

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6. Sears

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7. Kobo

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8. Budweiser

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9. Sports Authority

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10. Whole Foods

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11. Kroger

Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Why it's hot: Kroger's loyalty cards track what shoppers buy — so that Kroger's shoppers don't just receive random rewards, but rather, rewards that cater to their specific shopping needs. Kroger has been taking many steps to advance its in-store (and delivery) technology.

10. Kraft

Headquarters: Northfield, Illinois

Why it's hot: Kraft scored big points with millennials this year when it announced that starting in 2016, its original Macaroni & Cheese will get its color from natural spices like paprika instead of from artificial additives Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Kraft's latest ads have also appealed to millennials, Moosylvania explains, since they look more like GIFs — something millennials love.

9. Chipotle

Headquarters: Denver, Colorado

Why it's hot: It's no secret — millennials are obsessed with fast casual behemoth Chipotle. Its focus on eliminating GMOs and sustainable ingredients has helped it unseat Subway as the ultimate healthy place to eat. The company is also quirky — Moosylvania points to its haiku contest, wherein consumers could write love haikus to their beloved burritos for the chances to win prizes.

8. Chick-fil-A

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Why it's hot: Chick-fil-A has a cult following, no doubt. Its zealots showed their devotion when they had the opportunity todress like cows to win free food. Chick-fil-A remains a favorite destination for millennialsbecause the food is fresh...and good.

7. Whole Foods

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Why it's hot: Whole Foodsis known for selling fresh, organic food, and for suggesting healthy recipes to consumers. It has engaged consumers on its social networks by encouraging them to share their own food photos.

6. Taco Bell

Headquarters: Irvine, California

Why it's hot: Taco Bell remains wildly popular. It's #breakfastdefects campaign helped the brand create its own unique, Internet-friendly culture surrounding its breakfast lineup. Taco Bell also rewards fans by giving away free food with occasional contests.

5. Hershey's

Headquarters: Hershey, Pennsylvania

Why it's hot: Hershey's has dropped artificial colorings from its chocolate. "We are committed to making our products using ingredients that are simple and easy-to-understand, like fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar – ingredients you recognize, know and trust," the company said in a news release.

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SoulCycle

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CrossFit

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Apple

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Harley Davidson

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Lululemon

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Wegmans

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Oprah's brand

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WWE

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Vespa

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Chick-fil-A

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Photo: Instagram/Chick-fil-A

Mexican Coca-Cola

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Photo: Getty

Vans

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Photo: Reuters

Surge

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Mazda Miata

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Shake Shack

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4. Kellogg's

Headquarters: Battle Creek, Michigan

Why it's hot: Cereal sales might be declining, but the company has mastered digital campaigns, which certainly appeals to millennials.

3. Frito Lay

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Why it's hot: Lay's won big with its Do Us A Flavor contest. People who shared their digitally designed flavors online were eligible to win bags of their designed chips — and some even got to have their flavors nationally produced. (Business Insider went ahead andtested some of these wacky flavors).

2. McDonald's

Headquarters: Oak Brook, Illinois

Why it's hot:The brand has been introducing more fresh ingredients and customizable burgers to compete with fast casual brands. It's#PayWithLovin campaign also appealed to millennials.

1. Starbucks

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Why it's hot:Starbucks has been expanding its menu to include more food options such as sandwiches and salads — and even wine at some locations. It has also added drive-thrus to many locations. Additionally, it allows consumers to have a say in its products — like when it had consumers vote on new frappuccino flavors in the summer, granting the winning beverage a lower price, Moosylvania notes.

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Baking: Betty Crocker

Headquarters: Golden Valley, Minnesota

Why people trust it: Betty Crocker baking products are staples in most American households.

(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cheese: Kraft

Headquarters: Northfield, Illinois

Why people trust it: Kraft committed to stop putting artificial ingredients in its macaroni and cheese this year.

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Energy drink: Monster

Headquarters: Corona, California

Why people trust it: The company claims its products have strong flavors and that they're easy to drink.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Instant rice: Minute

Headquarters: Houston, Texas

Why people trust it: All Minute rice products are grown in the US.

(Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Mayonnaise: Hellmann's

Headquarters: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Why people trust it: Hellmann's Real mayonnaise is made with just three ingredients — vinegar, eggs, and oil.

(Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Pasta: Barilla

Headquarters: Ames, Iowa/Parma, Italy

Why people trust it: The brand is authentic. The products the company manufactures in the US are made with the same machines as the products made in Italy.

(Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bread: Wonder

Headquarters: Thomasville, Georgia

Why people trust it: Wonder Bread has been a classic household name brand since 1921.

(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chocolate: Hershey's

Headquarters: Hershey, Pennsylvania

Why people trust it: Hershey's is the leading manufacturer of chocolate, mint, and gum in North America. The company is transparent about its ingredients. It primarily uses milk, almonds, cocoa beans, and sugar in its products.

(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Jam: Smucker's

Headquarters: Orrville, Ohio

Why people trust it: Smucker's added low sugar and sugar free options to its popular roster of jams, jellies, and preserves.

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Peanut butter: Jif

Headquarters: Orrville, Ohio

Why people trust it: JIF sells a variety of peanut butters, including reduced fat, low sodium, and more.

(Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mexican food: Old El Paso

Headquarters: Golden Valley, Minnesota

Why people trust it: Old El Paso offers a complete line of Mexican meal components that are common in many households.

(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Soup: Campbell's

Headquarters: Camden, New Jersey

Why people trust it: According to Campbell, 95.8% of households have a Campbell product in their kitchens. The company believes its popularity is because of its transparency.

(Photo by Kevin Schafer via Getty Images)

Butter: Land O'Lakes

Headquarters: Arden Hills, Minnesota

Why people trust it: Land O'Lakes claims that its simple ingredients have set the standard for quality butter since the 1920s.

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Coffee: Folgers

Headquarters: Orrville, Ohio

Why people trust it: Folgers has been producing coffee for over 160 years and is the top selling coffee brand in the US.

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Gum: Trident

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Why people trust it: Trident gum is known for its claim to clean and protect teeth.

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Juice: Tropicana

Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Why people trust it: Tropicana's orange juice is rich in nutrients, and advertises that its products go from "grove to glass." Most of its juice products have an impressive 100% daily value of Vitamin C.

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Ketchup: Heinz

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Why people trust it: Heinz ketchup has been free from artificial preservatives since 1906.

(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mustard: French's

Headquarters: Parsippany, New Jersey

Why people trust it: French's mustard is America's number one brand for mustard. It's committed to using simple and clean ingredients.

(Photo by Richard B. Levine via Alamy)

Yogurt: Yoplait

Headquarters: Golden Valley, Minnesota/Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Why people trust it: Yoplait offers a variety of yogurts, including Greek, light, Go-Gurt, lactose-free yogurt, thick and creamy yogurt, and 100-calorie yogurt.

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Cereal: Kellogg's

Headquarters: Battle Creek, Michigan

Why people trust it: Kellogg's produces many popular cereal brands such as Frosted Flakes, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Raisin Bran.

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Seasoning: McCormick

Headquarters: Sparks, Maryland

Why people trust it: McCormick is known for producing many popular and unique spices. The company also offers low sodium and gluten-free options.

(Photo by Julie Thurston Photography via Getty Images)

Eggs: Eggland's Best

Headquarters: Malvern, Pennsylvania

Why people trust it: Eggland's Best claims it protects its customers. It says it vaccinates its hens and decontaminates egg shells to protect consumers from diseases and contamination.

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Ice cream: Breyers

Headquarters: Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Why people trust it: Breyers, which is owned by Unilever, is committed to selling products with "All-American dairy" and "naturally sourced flavors and colors."

(Photo by David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Non-dairy milk: Silk

Headquarters: Broomfield, Colorado

Why people trust it: Silk produces multiple dairy-free products including soy milk, cashew milk, dairy-free yogurts, and almond milk.

(Photo by Richard Levine via Alamy)

Soft drink: Coca-Cola

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Why people trust it: Coca-Cola includes Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, and Fanta soft drink products and is transparent with its ingredients.

(Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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