All Things Millennial


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A quarterly newsletter on the Millennial Generation. Objective was to write on topics and issues that are relevant to Millennials.

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All Things Millennial

  1. 1. All things Millennial Newsletter 1 Q4, 2009 by Steven Conway As a professional career focus of mine, I have taken on the monumental task of learning, studying, and understanding the generation known as the Millennials – born between 1978-1995. In an effort to pass on this knowledge to you, I have created a quarterly newsletter called All Things Millennial. Each issue will be focused on different topics that personally relate to or have been affected by the Millennial Generation. My goal for A.T.M. is for you to become better educated about this consumer segment and to share with others who might be interested in learning more about this diverse generation. THE RISE OF THE FOODIE GENERATION. As the first topic of this Millennial focused newsletter, I wanted to write about something that is near to my heart and the rest of my generation’s – Food. That’s right, the generation known as Y, Millennials, or Gen C have one thing in common, we all LOVE FOOD. Not just eating it, but cooking, watching, talking, and thinking about it. HERE ARE JUST SOME STATS AND FACTS THAT SHOW WHY THE MILLENNIAL Millennials are leading the way in becoming a generation GENERATION HAS BECOME A GENERATION of food connoisseurs. According to market research from OF FOODIES: Mintel, Millennials are emerging as casual cooking enthusiasts. They find • Two out of three are classified as “casual cooking enthusiasts” (Source: Mintel) cooking as a “pleasurable hobby” and cook an average of 4.4 “elaborate” or • 55% agree they are willing to spend more money for the highest quality ingredients “gourmet” meals every six months, more than four times as many as those who • 40% consider themselves ‘foodies’ (Source: Millennial Marketing) “avoid cooking” or are “non-enthusiastic • 22% of 18-24 year olds agree they “try to eat cooks.” As Millennials’ interest in gourmet foods whenever they can” gourmet cooking is rising, they are also • 85% of 20-24 year olds visit a sit down casual starting to have different attitudes restaurant at least once a month towards food and cooking. Carol Phillips, (Source: Millennial Marketing) a Millennial expert and blogger, posts her • 48% visit a “fine dining restaurant” (meals over findings on the conversations she has with $20) at least once a month Millennials on this very topic. According (Source: Millennial Marketing) to her own research, Millennials are • They spend a disproportionate amount of their starting to consider cooking a hobby and income on food, food away from home, and alcoholic beverages describe it as a passion of theirs.
  2. 2. “Cooking is my passion. I love doing it” “I love watching the food network” “I’ve seriously gotten into cooking” “I now intend on taking classes to learn how to cook” If you wonder where this desire for being a culinary savant comes from, you have to look at the internal and exter- nal forces that make up the Millennial Generation. The Millennial generation the most diverse generation in history, as 33% are non- Caucasian, 80% claim to have a close friend of a different race or ethnic origin and 33% under the age 18 are immigrants or children of immigrants. On top of that, this generation grew up with ready-made access to international cuisine, from the grab and go sushi rolls to the proliferation of Indian, Thai, Latin American options that are found from the grocery aisle to fast food. We have been taught the importance of food sourcing, free-range animals and organic vegetables growing up. We prefer to shop at farmers markets, to buy local and fresh produce and enjoy shopping at non-traditional grocery retailers like Trader Joe’s for everyday items. Even our definition of comfort foods is different than other generations, ranging from burritos and ramen noodles to sushi and fruits. We are interested in bolder, more complex taste and flavors, and have no qualms about eating Swiss chocolates one day to Hershey bars the next. Additionally, the foodie phenomenon is only strengthened through the many entertainment channels we consume. Reality food shows like Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen have taught us that anybody can be a cook, while informational programs like No Reservations have taught us how to become food snobs. We have iPhone apps like Kraft’s ifood assistant that teach us how to cook. We join online communities like food porn for those who love taking pictures of their creations. And for the real foodie, we have niche websites like specifi- cally targeted to our generation. is a creation of the Food Network geared to the twenty-something Do It Yourself cook. The site offers instructional cooking webisodes, with Top Chef contenders and youthful Food Network personalities. The website launched in May of 2009 and already has a million unique visitors each month. The site does a good job of incorporating web 2.0 tools (blog, videos, and Flickr) to make it easy to upload and share recipes and tips among the Food2 community. It’s a natural fit for this generation, as they typically like to express their life’s passions online.
  3. 3. The interest in food has also influenced Millennial’s Quick Service Restaurant behavior, as this group has been traditionally trading up from traditional QSRs to fast casual restaurants in the past few years. Between 2007-2008, 18-24 year olds were the only age group to show a decline in the average number of meals eaten at QSRs (Mintel). The one fast casual restaurant that has had the biggest influence on this generation recently has been Chipole. With a reputation for food integrity and freshness, Chipotle has become the number one casual restaurant among Millennials. Specifically in California, three out of five 20-24 year olds visited Chipotle in the past year – the highest penetration of any fast casual chain (Brand Amplitude). Chipotle stands firm with its “food with integrity” vision which seeks out better food not only from using fresh ingredients, but also ingredients that are sustainably grown, naturally raised and ethically responsible towards the animal, land and farmers. Chipotle’s message not only resonates with Millennials, but also speaks to their values of sustainable products, freshness and most important, quality. A series of billboards calls out their messages of “gourmet” and “ethical farming”.
  4. 4. GENERATION Y-INE For my second topic, I wanted to write about something that has been my generation’s new love and hobby – WINE. Millennials are wine’s next big consumer and represent the fastest growing core wine drinking population in the United States today. Millennials are on track to becoming the biggest consumers of wine and according to The Boston Globe, “have the potential to become the next generation to embrace wine in numbers not seen since the baby boomers.” Unlike past generations, Millennials wine preference, attitudes and behaviors toward wine are quite different. Typically, this group has been willing to spend more money on different types of wines and have developed a new definition of wine sophistication. Whereas their Boomer parents value an expensive bottle of high profile wines from the Bordeaux or Napa regions, HERE SOME FACTS AND STATISTICS THAT SHOW Millennial wine drinkers gain prestige by buying a HOW MILLENNIALS ARE BECOMING THE NEXT WAVE bottle from Croatia, which might have an OF WINOS: interesting story attached to it. Millennials’ high frequency of purchases indicate that they have • Millennials accounted for 46% of new wine growth in made wine a part of everyday life, whereas past 2008, followed by 23% of Gen Xer’s (Wine council) generations may have only relegated wine drinking to special occasions. • Incidence of wine drinking increases from 23% among 21-24 year olds to 32% among 25-34 years old (Wine Council) Even the way Millennials buy wine is different from other generations. This generation is less • Millennials who drink wine are twice as likely to belong likely to go to wine tastings or wineries and to a wine club (20%) and to drink at wine bars in the past is more interested in word of mouth three months (38%) as older groups (Wine Council) recommendations, online reviews, or “discovering” • 40% of 25-34 year olds agree that more expensive wine a bottle that is unique or interesting. Millennial tastes better compared to 31% of adults on average wine blogger Leah Hennessy makes some good (Mintel) observations on how Millennials navigate through • 41% of Millennials who drink wine say they drink the wine category: imported wine most often vs. 31% of Gen X and 24% of Boomers (Wine Council) • At the same time, Millennials tend to favor more familiar wines and wines with fun, casual names (Mintel) • 55% of 21-24 year olds purchase wine based on brand and 48% decide by price (Mintel) • Millennials spend about $10 more per bottle than average (Mintel)
  5. 5. “We get our first apartment and realize that with 2 buck chuck, we can actually buy wine! After we get used to buying wine for $2, we start in on the Yellow Tail. After some time with Yellow Tail, we now know we enjoy wine and are comfortable spending more than $10 on a bottle of wine. Now we’re serious wine consumers, but the only place we really feel comfortable buying wine is in the supermarket. Somehow we’ve gotten to the point where we’re getting $15-$20 everyday drinking wine, but we have never been to a tasting, never been to a winery, and feel like we have no idea what we’re actually doing. It doesn’t stop us from buying, but it does keep us in our comfort zone of the same familiar aisle at Trader Joe’s.” Even when I look at my own wine consumption behavior I really only consume it at home and typically purchase from local grocery or liquor stores. Trader Joe’s is my ideal wine retailer, due to their highly competitive prices and variety of selection. They even make wine easy to buy with their nice little write-ups consisting of food pairings and description of flavor notes. For me, it has been the place where I have discovered some of my favorite bottles and has given me the ability to raise my own wine credentials as I now can recommend good bottles to friends and family. With that said, if you do find yourself in a Traders Joe’s anytime soon, look for a bottle of Chariot Gypsy; a great California blend that has a complex flavor, is extremely smooth and priced at a steal for $5.99. This next wave of wine consumer isn’t going unnoticed. Companies have taken note and are now marketing to the Millennial consumer on their terms. Two wine brands that are getting it right with the Millennial generation are Sacre Bleu and Fat Bastard. Sacre Bleu Wines is a company that has embraced social media as the way to reach wine-hungry Millennials. Their website features a rotating display of lifestyle articles and social media links. Their wines aren’t even displayed front and center and are instead tucked away in the website. Even Sacre Bleu wine advertising has a Millennial look and feel as it incorporates lifestyle imagery and colors, focusing on the fun of the wine.
  6. 6. Fat Bastard is a French wine that has been around since the 90’s and overall is a pretty good selling wine in the U.S. Online, the label offers several ways for Millennials to engage with the brand such as links to contests and promotions, an invitation to “share your story,” a place to send photos of you and your fellow partygoers drinking Fat Bastard, food pairings, recipe ideas, and of course social media links and tools. There is even a nice cause marketing effort for the altruistic-minded Millennials with $.25 donated for each bottle sold. Fat bastard does a great job marketing a product that could be perceived as pretentious and markets the fun of the product. With an obscure brand name and a luxury theme “Are you Living Large?” Fat Bastard lets their consumer know they don’t take themselves too seriously with a fun persona and a light hearted, witty tone – all factors that hit the mark when marketing to this consumer group.