Millennials have been the must-watch generation for years and we don’t expect their influence to go away anytime soon. Standing 92 million strong with buying power over 200 billion dollars and growing, marketers and employers alike are certainly open to what millennials have to say. But who are these avocado toast loving-kombucha drinking-social media gurus and what do they really want when it comes to food?
Who They Are
In the most basic sense, millennials are those born between 1981-1997 and currently make up the largest demographic in the United States. While many are in college, focusing on their careers, or beginning to start families, this generation is very individualistic compared to the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Life stages have been expanded and there isn’t a cookie-cutter life plan anymore. This expansion of life stages has brought about a huge change in consumer behavior.
What They Want
Millennials have pushed for more truth and transparency from manufacturers unlike the marketplace has ever seen before- and they aren’t just asking for the truth about ingredients. This generation wants to know all about the production/growth process, where everything is sourced from, nutritional value, the impact on the environment, and what the company stands for. In a way, millennials have truly redefined what it means to eat “healthy.” Gone are the days where healthy just meant food was low calorie or low fat. Today, healthy more so means buying foods that have been sustainably grown or produced and are all natural or organic. Top food producers are already making the shift towards this new healthy truth so expect to see more informative food labels and healthier options in your local grocery stores.
Customization to millennials is more than just choosing cheese or no cheese on their burgers. They want a full-range of personalization that includes fresh ingredients, new flavors, and making their meal truly unique. This also plays off of the fact that millennials are described as being open-minded and curious. They enjoy trying out new flavor combinations, ethnic cuisines, and vegetarian/vegan options. They often seek out up-and-coming restaurants and are eager to try out new additions to menus. So, next time you’re out at a fast-casual restaurant or strolling your local grocery store, take notice of just how many more customizable options there are- you can thank a millennial for that!
Who doesn’t love convenience when it comes to food? Well, millennials especially love it. In the International Food Information Council’s 2017 Food and Health Survey, they found that 55% of millennials listed convenience as the top factor when buying food. This contrasts with the majority of Baby Boomers who listed taste as the top driver when choosing food. Millennials’ desire for quick and easy food options is already making waves in the marketplace. Trendy options like meal kits, grocery delivery, food trucks, and online ordering can all be attributed to the push for food that’s fast and delicious. Over the past few years, there’s also been an enormous increase in popularity of food delivery apps such as GrubHub, Postmates, and DoorDash. These convenient food options do come at a cost, though. On average, millennials spend 44% of their food budget on eating out– that comes out to $2,921 annually. While that may only be about $56 a week, this number is on the rise and has already increased 10.7% since 2010. Brace yourself for this spending trend to continue and for even more convenient food options to develop as a result.
Millennials are an on-the-go generation and tend to snack more than they sit down to eat a large meal. This grazing lifestyle has led to an increase in demand for unique snack options that are not only healthy but are also sustainable. In terms of healthy options, there has been a push for the previously mentioned natural foods that are responsibly sourced or grown. “Skinny” chips or popcorn, all-natural fruit snacks, and plant-based proteins are some of the new trendy snack options making their debut. On the sustainable side, the market has seen a call for resealable, reusable, and easily portable snack options. In a recent survey, about 40% of brand managers said they have already made changes toward sustainable packaging over the past 2 years and most plan on continuing this initiative in years to come. As the demand for new snack options evolves, many creative and innovative designs will be hitting the shelves. But, as with millennials’ desire for convenient food options, expect to pay a small premium for these new healthy and sustainable snacks.
Though transparency, customization, convenience, and snack options are essential to millennials, they aren’t the only trends sweeping the CPG industry. Click here to learn more about trends that will be making waves in the retail landscape in months to come!
By Jenevieve Valleroy, Advantage Solutions