Exploring Millennial’s Passion for Food:
It’s More than Food, It’s An Experience!
Millennials represent more than just the
next generation in a progression of
alphabet names - they represent a new
and influential way of thinking, living
As Millennials progress into new
lifestages, they are shaking up
conventional approaches to marketing in
everything from product development, to
distribution to media and promotion. This
influence is already the driving force in
technology, retail and experiential
categories such as food, wine, and
Their unusual combination of idealism,
practicality and passion are enabling
explosive new business opportunities
and making it especially critical to
understand this unique generation.
Why Millennials and Food?
Millennial influence is growing and we all
are becoming more “Millennial-like” in our
values, attitudes and behaviors each day.
Who Are the Millennials?
Different from earlier generations
Saving and Spending
Consumer impact being felt in...
Travel and entertainment
77 Million Young Adults 19-34 years (born 1980-1995), $60,000 average income
Grew up in dawn of the information technology age
“The persistent ranking of these values across age spectrum signifies that this is not
merely a stage they will grow out of.” - Iconoculture, Inside the Millennial Mind
Millennial choices are shaped by strongly held values that differ from those of
their Boomer parents.
Millennials are notoriously elusive and skeptical of overt marketing and claims
Yet, they are willing to embrace brands that demonstrate that they are authentic
and can be trusted to share their values
The Paradox of Marketing to Millennials
Millennials consistently say
Apple is a favorite brand
Listen and share
Take a stand / state your purpose
Be a force for good
Challenge the status quo
Show some style
Leverage your heritage
Add value, be useful
Millennial Brand Building 101
Interrupt or yell
Pander or preach
Be bland or generic
Waste their time
It should feel the same when dealing with a company whether
online, in a store or on the phone
Expect to be able to engage with a company whenever I
choose and through whatever channel I choose
I like it when a company reaches out to me and not just to sell
Do business with company that can make good offers in real
I like it when a company makes recommendations that make
I would be prepared to give more data to business if it meant
they didn’t waste my time on offers that are not relevant
Millennials Want Customization and Control
Millennials want to hear from companies on their own terms
Customizable news feeds dominate content discovery
71% listen to customizable music streams, like Spotify and Pandora
Millennials are 56% more likely to discover marketing content on social networks
than via search engines or email.
Five out of six Millennials connect with companies on social media networks
The average spends 5 hours a day on average with user generated media (UGC)
Millennials Rely on Social Media
“Only 5% of Millennials use
social sites as a car-shopping
resources, and they are
brackish about auto brands that
use social media to reach them:
78% of Millennials surveyed by
AutoTrader said such efforts
had not the slightest impact on
their perception of the brand.”
Millennials trust user generated product
information/media over other sources
At the same time, Millennials distrust
brand-sponsored social sites
Millennials check their phones on average 100+ times a day
The top social apps are Facebook and Instagram
Social Media is Increasingly Mobile
Millennials value brands that allow them to express themselves in unique ways
via photo and video sharing
Instagram is one of the top media channels used by Millennials on a daily basis.
On Facebook, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more
click-throughs on links than text-based posts.
Social Media Is Increasingly Visual
Over 90% of the
150 million people
on Instagram are
under the age of 35
40 million active
30 million active
Over 1 Billion users,
50% of traffic is from
Brand #Success: Mercedes Benz CLA
CLA launched in 2013 with starting price of
30,000, targeted to Millennial demo
Millennials differ from older car buyers, much of
their consideration phase occurs online instead of
on the lot.
“Take the Wheel” campaign leveraged popular
Instagram users (half a million or more followers)
and asked them to ‘gram their journeys’
87 million Instagram impressions and 2
More than half of CLA buyers are Gen-X or
Gen-Y. 75% are first-time Mercedes buyers.
CLA owners are “one of the youngest age groups in
the history of the brand.” --Mark Aikman, Mercedes
digital marketing manager
Millennials seek to discover one-of-a-kind experiences, gain insider knowledge
and share their knowledge and experience with others.
Tapping Millennial Passions
Travel stories comprise
42% of posts on the
average Facebook user's
"Books, music, everything is dematerializing, it's turning virtual and travel is
increasingly playing a role in how people represent their identity. It's not just
bragging, it's sharing, stating who they are.” -- Andy Murdock, Lonely Planet
Brands like ZipCar, Lyft,
Airbnb and TaskRabbit help
Millennials to feel frugal,
savvy, spontaneous and
open for new experiences.
Nearly half of all adults
watch food videos on
YouTube – but Millennials
watch 30% more foodie
footage than other
Food and beverages are uniquely suited to Millennials desires to experience
life, share their passions and express themselves. They are comfortable in the
kitchen and love to socialize around food.
Half of Millennials Self-Identify as “Foodies”
Millennials represent 30% of
weekly wine drinkers, and are
adopting wine at a faster rate
than any other generation.
According to Mintel, over 50%
of Millennials have tried craft
beer vs. 36% overall.
Millennials eat out more
frequently, and are less
likely to cut back on dining
out when money is tight.
64% eat out at least once
65% of Millennials love cooking
and consider themselves
experts in the kitchen. 86%
enjoy experimenting with new
recipes, many of which they find
on Pinterest! 68% of Millennial
men describe themselves as
Millennials Have a Taste For …
A recipe page on the Tabasco
website is devoted to college
and university students.
Featured recipes include The
All-Nighter, a drink made from
Mountain Dew, Red Bull Energy
Drink, and a dash of Tabasco
brand Original Red Sauce
Special Flavors & Ideas Locally Grown/Fresh
Millennials are choosy when it comes to food. They favor ethnic, fresh, antibiotic
free and organic foods and avoid processed foods and mainstream flavors.
52% say they support the
local food movement.
Gardening is growing as the
#1 hobby in America, with 5
million more households
digging in and planting than
in 2010, driven by Millennials'
interest in edible gardening.
Farmers markets are
Millennials scrutinize food
labels, especially when it’s for
their kids! 46% look for foods
with few ingredients and 41%
buy organic whenever they
can. Many say Kashi is
among their favorite brands.
Millennials Have Embraced Ethnic Cooking
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Korean (eg bulgogi, bibimbap)
Greek (eg spanakopita, moussaka)
Thai (eg pad Thai)
Indian (eg tandoori chicken, palak paneer)
Caribbean (eg jerk chicken)
Japanese (eg sushi, ramen, tempura)
Middle Eastern (eg falafel, hummus)
Spanish (eg paella, tapas)
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food use
Cajun/Creole (eg gumbo, jambalaya)
Chinese (eg chow mein, kung pao chicken)
Asian food use
Mexican/Hispanic food use
Italian (eg chicken parmigiana, pasta primavera)
% Preparing Ethnic Food at Home by Age (Mintel, Jan 2014)
Female Millennials grocery shop as frequently as other adults, while males
Millennials grocery shop more often.
Millennials spend more on groceries and enjoy it more than other adults.
How Millennials Shop for Food
Grocery Shopping Frequency
More than once a week 27% 36% 27%
Once a week 46% 41% 40%
2-3 times per month 22% 19% 29%
Once a month or less 6% 6% 4%
Source: Mintel, February 2014
Average Weekly Grocery
All Adults $106
18-34 Years $114
All Adults 42%
18-34 Years 54%
“I Enjoy Grocery Shopping”
Millennials are more likely to build shopping trips around a particular recipe.
They also place less emphasis on special discounts in their menu planning than
do other generations.
More than 25% of their meals include items they bought on the same day.
Millennials Emphasize Freshness
From store shelves…
… to table in same day.
I usually use coupons 46% 35% 33%
I look at retailers’ circulars (in-
store or online) to see what’s on
42% 34% 26%
I compare prices while shopping
in-store through an app on my
15% 23% 17%
Millennials Love to Save
Much of the growth in store
brands is driven by cost-
They especially like store
brands like Target’s Archer
and Up and Up that still feel
Millennials are careful shoppers who love a good deal, but they are less likely to use
coupons or newspapers circulars than to go online or use an app while shopping.
Millennials are less likely to have regular food routines. They eat when they
are hungry, which often means more frequent, smaller meals and snacks.
They tend to get together for drinks and snacks regularly. Restaurants
have responded with ‘small plate’ menus, and items like McDonald’s Snack
Millennials Are Snackers
Authentic origins story,
Not trying too hard to be
“Ingredients” for Connecting with Millennials
Whole Foods, Trader
Joes are preferred
“Clean label” is minimum
Organic a plus
Interesting flavors that enable
creativity and self-expression
brand appears to
have many of the
– Social media
Millennial Friendly: Mike’s Organic Curry Love
Millennials are a large, influential and growing demographic
Connecting with Millennials requires understanding their values and passions
Brands connect with Millennials by helping them express their passions
Millennials see food and drink as an opportunity for self-expression and social
– Reflection of values and interests
– Creative and customizable
– Inherently sharable
Millennials shop more frequently, often with a specific recipe in mind.
Leverageable ‘ingredients’ for building a Millennial-friendly food brand include:
– Clean label
– Healthy, organic, ‘fresh’ ingredients
– Unique flavors or ethnic options
– Accessibility – be where they are looking
– Authentic “story”
– Social media presence
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