Pew Research, Washington, D.C., projected that by the end of 2015, Millennials outnumbered Baby Boomers thanks to higher death rates in the Boomer population and high immigration rates in the Millennial population. That will make Millennials the nation’s largest living generation, which also means they’re one of the most important customer demographics for industries like food and beverage.
However, like every other generation, Millennials have their own set of preferences when it comes to what they purchase. Check out some of the key Millennial food and beverage preferences, and discover how you can attract the Millennial mind.
Millennials grew up with the Internet, which means that as technology has evolved throughout their lifetime, they’ve become accustom to a fast-paced society. Convenience is important to them, whether they’re looking for a grocery store close to home or are more willing to eat out vs cook in their own kitchens. In fact, the Millennial population eats out more than others, with 53% citing that they eat out at least once a week, compared to 43% for the general population, says Business Insider, New York.
Because of this, Millennials are more willing to ditch the traditional grocery store in favor of other options, including eating out and even ordering food online.
As globalization of industry has spread throughout the last few decades, Millennials have grown up in a world where products are fairly cheap, since they’re less expensive to make, thanks to the low cost of outsourcing and technologies designed to speed up productivity. Because of this, Millennials expect low prices. That’s not to mention that Millennials are a frugal generation, which means they’re likely to compare prices and choose the product with the best deal.
While convenience and low prices are a priority for Millennials, that doesn’t mean that fast food and TV dinners are the bulk of their diet. As Forbes points out, Millennials are more willing to go out of their way for top products, and a vast majority of them are interested in quality foods like organic fruits and vegetables.
While they’re interested in low prices, they are also willing to spend more on foods that are healthier and taste better. This is true even for low-income Millennials. In fact, it’s suggested that lower-income shoppers are doing more for the sustainability market, and 50% are willing to pay premium prices for green products, according to SustainableBrands.com, San Francisco.
Millennials are not ignorant to what’s put in their food. Many Millennials will seek out products that they’re more familiar with ingredient-wise, so they’re informed with what they’re putting in their bodies. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are brand loyal.
Millennials are more likely to stray away from highly-processed foods in favor of those that carry ingredients they’re familiar with. They’re interested in honest brands that don’t sacrifice the customer’s health for a longer shelf life.
A huge percentage of Millennials (81%) “expect companies to make a public commitment to corporate citizenship,” says Forbes, New York. Millennials are a surprisingly environmentally-conscious generation. They’re more likely to grow their own food, make their own cleaning products and install eco-friendly energy solutions than the majority of the population.
Because of their environmentally-conscious ideals and their commitment to social improvement, they’re looking to support the brands that make these principles a priority as well. Make it known that your company uses sustainable practices in manufacturing and transportation, or let customers know if you’ll be donating a portion of the proceeds to a social cause, and you’ll have a better chance of attracting this audience.
Among one of the more important aspects of environmentally-friendly foods, Millennials want their food packaging to be sustainable as well. Not only is it good for the environment, but sustainable packaging is also a smart marketing move.
It’s simple psychology. The packaging is something customers can easily see on the shelves, and it becomes more personal when they are the ones throwing away the packaging. That makes purchasing sustainable packaging an emotional decision, so it should be a top priority for food manufacturers and suppliers who want to show that their business really is environmentally friendly.
This includes packaging that is made out of recyclable material, is easily recycled on its own and is even biodegradable. Foods packaged in plastic or foam are less sustainable, and therefore less attractive to Millennials.
For optimum sustainability, opt for no packaging if it’s a realistic solution.
The bottom line
While these preferences may not be true for every Millennial, you will find the majority of this generation leaning toward these options. You’ll also notice that Millennials are less brand loyal than previous generations, and they will engage in non-traditional purchase models to get what they want such as by shopping at specialty stores. They want to pay as little as possible for their food, but they’re also willing to pay more for specialty products such as ethnic and organic foods while ensuring their food is both healthy and tasty.
As the younger end of the Millennial generation graduates college and emerges into the workforce, more Millennials will have the money to shop for high-quality, green products. Essentially, the demand for the practices outlined above will be on the rise. That’s not to mention that older Millennials are in the stage of having children, and will teach their children these values as well, meaning the food and beverage industry will be unable to ignore these demands in coming years.
To stay ahead of your competition in the food and beverage industry, it’s important to adopt a supply chain model that can sustain highly-efficient and environmentally-sound production.
What’s your next Millennial-focused move going to be?