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4 Ways Food Marketers Can Cater To Millennials

At 75.4 million strong, Millennials eclipsed Boomers in 2016 as the largest generation. Not surprisingly, food marketers are salivating at the thought of winning over these young consumers.

That's no easy task. Research shows a complex picture. For example, they snack more than any other generation, but prefer to do so with portion-controlled packaging. Plus, they like exotic “ethnic” tastes more than older generations.

Some marketers have had success appealing to this market segment. One winner is Kind Snacks, which sells granola and protein snacks in clear packaging boasting “wholesome ingredients.” For other marketers who are looking to tap into this market, here are four trends we noticed about Millennials and food:

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1. They love snacking. Some 91% of Millennial consumers snack many times throughout the day. About half say they can’t get through the day without snacking. That said, they are particular about what types of snacks they eat. A 2017 SEO analysis showed an uptick in searches for “healthy snacks” and “indulgent snacks.” Throughout much of the day, Millennials enjoy energizing and light snacks. But as the day progresses, they favor sweet and savory snacks.

2. They read labels. Millennials read labels more than the general population. Some 65% look on the product label. That compares to 59% for all generations. Millennials also like transparency. We mean this in a literal sense. For example, they like the see-through packaging used by Kind Snacks, which lets them see the product.

3. They like evolved flavor profiles. Millennials over-index in interest in ethnic and evolved flavor combinations. It's become a cliché to assume that all Millennials love sriracha, the hot red sauce. In fact, McDonald's introduced a sriracha burger last year.  Indeed, sales of sriracha and hot sauces are way up. Millennials are also into poké (a raw fish salad from Hawaii) and shakshouka (a poached eggs and tomato recipe from the Middle East). 

4. Millennials welcome help in the kitchen.  Generally, Millennials are either time-challenged or need new ideas when it comes to cooking. Millennials seek out advice from instructional videos, listicles, Pinterest pins and community groups. Marketers can help by creating content that can be easily viewed on their cell phones.

How to win

As these trends illustrate, Millennials have different needs than the general population. Marketers who pay close attention to these differences can crack the code and win over the appetites of Millennials for years to come.

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