Millennials favor fresh, prepared and convenient foods, influencing how food is served and sold for the future.
Savvy retailers know Millennials are a force to be reckoned with according to The Gourmet Retailer. The Hartman Group explains the Millennials are more spontaneous and adventurous when it comes to food and drink than previous generations. They are also complex and full of contradictions—but they are fully aware of the contradictions and embrace them.
Millennials don’t think contradictions make them hypocritical. They are eager to share all aspects of who they really are and don’t worry if the pieces don’t quite add up. They are just as likely to seek out fresh local foods as they are to eat at a fast food restaurant.
Millennials’ strong ties to technology and new ways of engaging with food and beverage occasions make this generation’s shopping and dining habits worth watching, not just for clues about what young adults want, but for ways that Millennials are influencing changes for other generations.
When compared to other generations, The Gourmet Retailer found that Millennials are also more likely to:
- Be gender-neutral when it comes to the role of cooking (61 percent of females and 60 percent of males enjoy cooking)
- Consider food an adventure and seek out different, ethnic and artisanal foods (40 percent like to try new kinds of ethnic cuisines and “anything new and different,” compared to 34 percent and 32 percent, respectively, of Gen X and Boomers combined)
- Make spur-of-the-moment food decisions and have less well-stocked pantries
- Blend sauces and infuse flavors to customize new salad dressings and marinades
- Trend towards more meatless eating, with 6 percent identifying as faithful vegetarians, compared to 5 percent of Gen X and Boomers combined. 12 percent of Millennials report often going vegetarian, compared to 10 percent of Gen X and 5 percent of Boomers
- Purchase frozen and pre-packaged foods they consider healthy, adding additional seasonings and fresh ingredients
The Gourmet Retailer shares tips for food retailers, food services and restaurants to connect with Millennials:
- It’s important to curate a product selection that appeals to young adults on the move who have an interest in cooking and yet are more likely than other consumers to want to “eat out.”
- To meet these needs, providing prepared foods with “food-forward” characteristics (e.g., ethnic, natural, fresh) as well as a variety of snacks for eating-out (or in-store) occasions is an important consideration.
- New flavors and ingredients linking to global cuisines are of high significance to Millennials.
- Signage, narratives, food merchandising and in-store programs that highlight new food experiences are significantly important.
- Millennials lead the way in favoring natural and organic ingredients, products that are locally grown and/or made and those free of GMOs and allergens.
- More broadly, Millennials favor fresh, prepared and convenient foods — like other consumers, but often more so.
- Millennials rely on frozen meals more than older generations, thus representing yet more potential for in-store experience in terms of sampling.