You hear about them all the time, the Millennials. As children of the Baby Boomers, this group of 77 million 18-29 year olds is effectively taking over the consumer marketplace in the US (Fortune). Millennials have incredible buying power; in fact they make up about $400 billion dollars worth of annual spending (Fortune). Brands, especially food brands, are vying for even a mili-second of the Millennials attention, which is difficult considering the saturated market. Brands, like McDonald’s are learning that they need to alter their products to fit the wants and needs of the Millennial generation. In August, McDonald’s saw a nearly 4% drop in sales, which is the lowest they have seen since 2003 (Time). In response to this, McDonald’s is prepping to adding items to their menu to attract more Millennial consumers. Although this generation strives to be unique, they are rather predictable. Here are the top 5 things that attract Millennials to food brands.
- Authenticity & Transparency: This generation is constantly seeking an authentic brand experience. They want to feel as if they are being invited into the kitchen of the chef. For this reason, Millennials gravitate towards fast casual brands with open kitchens, elaborate ingredient lists, and farm to table options. Many Millennials are hyper-aware of the ingredients listed on food labels, and would like to know the practices used in manufacturing and processing the final product, many think brands don’t disclose enough about their food products.
- Customizable: Millennials LOVE to be unique and make their own choices. Even if the options presented to them are pre-fabricated, they like the idea of being able to customize their own food. For this reason, restaurants like Chipotle and Panera are doing incredibly well. They like small plates that they can mix and match. They love to be able to alter their dishes depending on eating habits or allergies, and they like to add things extra. It is their way or the highway.
- Healthy & Fresh: The food-marketing landscape is gradually shifting away from fast-food to fast casual food. Millennials want options that appear to be healthier, even if they aren’t. They enjoy concepts like farm-to-table, sustainability and local food options. Oh, but beware, they don’t want to pay premium prices for any of that.
- Digital: Millennials love social media, digital media, and especially their smart phones. Brands that can harness of the power of these tools will come out ahead. The end.
- Environment: Despite the fact that Millennials gravitate towards restaurants and brands with “healthy” food options, they are willing to let all of that go for the right experience. Eating food to them is a form of entertainment. They seek restaurants that provide them a fun and engaging environment like community tables, modern interior design, and interactive dining.
Whether we want to admit it or not, Millennials are shaping the food industry. Brands who get on board with the things they like will ultimately have success in the market.