Eating is often a social activity, and for Millennials, this is even more so the case. They value experiences, which is why the culture of food is important to them from trying new cuisines and sharing their food finds to feasting at food trucks and food festivals. And even when they’re trying delicious dishes with friends, they’re sure to keep the rest of their network informed about what they’re tasting. Millennials are putting their eating experiences online from checking in at restaurants to pinning what they’re craving so they can share their discoveries with others and in return, they hope to receive food recommendations from their friends.
Millennials are adventurous, which is why food festivals are catching on among their generation since it’s a social outing where they can sample, snack, and socialize simultaneously. Fully 21% of Millennials have eaten at a food festival, according to our recent survey on food and beverages, which is surprisingly high considering that the trend is still relatively new. What’s more is that nearly half of this age group (47%) has eaten at a food truck before, suggesting that mobile trucks which serve on-the-go dishes meet their needs and provide a cool factor.
As one of our Youth Advisory Board members recently put it, going to a food truck is a fun activity and trying the food from each is as exciting as seeing the trucks that can be tracked on social media. Jake Katz, our general manager, explains that “for a generation of youth that is accustomed to having an ‘app for that’, it’s no surprise that the one-stop, packaged solution of mobile food trucks resonates with these consumers. It’s essentially an "in real life" version of the app store.” As a result, we predict that this on-the-go retail concept will enter new categories in the near future.
Moreover, Millennials are frequently photographing food and sharing it with friends on social networks. A quarter (26%) post photos of food they’re eating and nearly 3 in 10 (29%) post pictures of food they’ve made. They want to document their experiences and let others know what they’re up to. They also enjoy seeing images of their friends’ food finds with 36% saying they “like” photos of food that other people posted on Facebook. They share much of their lives online and it’s clear food is no exception.
This Millennial spirit of sharing is also reflected in their desire to use and recommend recipes. Half of Gen Y use recipes at least once a week, and in general, they’re the age group that uses them most often, presumably because they’ve grown up during the culture of food blogging and Pinterest has furthered their fascination with cooking and food. In fact, 22% of Millennials are on Pinterest and of those who use the site, nearly three-quarters have re-pined others’ recipes and 37% pin ones from websites.
We expect sharing and socializing around food — both online and off — to continue to grow among this age group. The trend suggests that like other content in Millennials’ lives, posting, pinning and re-pinning, and other social media behaviors that relate to food are interestingly being used like an “ingredient” in the greater social recipe that Millennials produce for themselves.