A few months ago, we decided to do a multi-generational study to better understand women and food. We were interested in exploring:
What challenges did women face when preparing meals?
How did they find food inspiration?
What did women want from food brands?
What prompted them to share photos and recipes?
So, we fielded the study and gathered more than 2,000 responses. When my team sent me the first draft of key insights from the study, they titled the study, “Millennial Women: Food on #Fleek.”
What the heck is #Fleek? Did we ask about some food called Fleek in our study?
So, for those who, like me, have never heard the term "On Fleek" or #Fleek, it means "on point." As an example, an 18 year old might say, "Cara Delevingne's eyebrows are on fleek." Yeah, that didn't really help me much, either, but you sort of get it, right?
One overall significant insight we gained is that we can’t lump all Millennial women together. There are significant differences between what young (18 - 24) Millennials say versus the ones on the older (25 - 34) spectrum. With this in mind, here are some of the key findings & implications:
• Millennials are snackers: Nearly half of young Millennial women (47%) and over one-third of older Millennial women (36%) eat three or more snacks per day, compared to only about one-quarter of women 35+. In addition, 11% of young Millennial women say they consume 5+ snacks per day, far more even than older Millennials.
• Planning dinners everyday is a challenge: Millennial women are significantly more likely to cite cost and time constraints than older women (cost is actually a bigger factor than boredom for them), and Millennials have a harder time than older women figuring out how to make healthy food that tastes good.
• Opinions of others count: On food purchase influences,younger women seem to be more easily swayed by the opinions of others. Young Millennials are significantly more likely than women 25+ to say the opinions of friends and family are very influential, and are also significantly more influenced by reviews posted by like-minded consumers.
• Reviews are part of the equation: Millennial women overall are significantly more likely than older women to be influenced by reviews written by knowledgeable people and by company/brand posts on social media. Who do they distrust? Celebrities. Millennials in general are quick to sniff out and be turned off by disingenuous celebrity endorsements.
• Social platforms are integral for food information: Young Millennials are more likely than all other groups to consult Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube, and Millennials overall are significantly more likely than all other groups to consult Pinterest and Twitter for inspiration.
• Posting content is prevalent: On the social platforms they post food content to, older Millennials are the most likely to post to Facebook; while, interestingly, the youngest and oldest age groups are least likely to post to Facebook. Young Millennials are significantly more likely than all other groups to use Instagram to provide them with a platform to post their creations. And, Millennials are more likely than women 35+ to post to Pinterest.
For brands looking to reach Millennial women, here are two findings that jumped out:
• Certain types of content are important to them: Millennials are more likely than women 35+ to want fun facts and stories and conversation-starting questions from other consumers, but not as much as coupons and recipes.
• They like to post to brand sites/pages: Millennials are significantly more likely than women 35+ to post/share content directly to food brand/company pages. And, they are most likely to post to brand pages to express satisfaction, make a product suggestion, or to try to get a special offer.
Given these findings, I am not surprised that companies like Blue Apron that provide meal kits to millions of customers across the U.S. are succeeding with Millennials. Millennials are seeking experiences with their food and companies that can provide these experiences will win this coveted group over as well as the social following that comes along with it.
Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Oct. 20, 2015, in Engage:Millennials.