Thanks to the millennials, we’re noticing a dynamic shift in the food retail landscape. Aged 22-37 years old, this group is voting with their feet when it comes to food consumption. Given they will surpass the baby boomers as the biggest retail spenders in the country by 2020 (taste.com.au), ignore this demographic at your peril. Their choices matter and savvy food retailers are responding.
Think anti-waste, organic cafes, farm gates, food trucks, non-alcoholic drinks and wonky vegetables. Fast food is also evolving with healthy alternatives taking on the legacy brands. They want committed brands with authentic products. Natural, simpler, more local and if possible small, as small as you can.
“Millennials want authenticity, traceability and real stories – meaningful brands and products that make the world better for them or their communities,” says Jacqui Wilson-Smith, Global Innovation at McCormick & Company. “I think they are having a great influence as they want to keep the food industry accountable and they support the smaller players. Large companies innovating need to start rethinking their values and executions as a millennial will sniff out fake advertising a mile away.”
Foodology is a thing
According to the research, Food Provenance 2016, conducted by Australia's leading food publisher, News Corp Australia’s food Network, it is where food passion meets ideology meets biology. Ideology represents the values they stand for, such as being socially aware, taking a proactive stance on sustainability and ethics. The biology part is about taking a personalised approach to health – shunning the one size fits all - I know my body best and will pick and choose approaches that suit me and my lifestyle. Where the three of them meet is the ultimate ‘sweet spot’ that appeals to millennials and drives them to action.
They are open minded and curious about trying new flavours
Good riddance to dull, poor quality fare. Tacos are being taken to the next level with high-end chefs using fine meat cuts and food trucks offering fusion versions borrowing from cultures other than Mexican. Exotic flavours such as Peruvian and Middle Eastern are on the rise and poke fish bowls are also popular.
Environmental concerns are top of mind
Traditionally the food industry has been notorious for exorbitant food wastage. The zero-waste trend is calling on consumers and food retailers to use every bit of food possible. To curb this food waste, grocery chains are experimenting with selling “wonky” vegetables at discount prices and restaurants are opting to make their own sparkling water rather than purchase bulk pre-packaged bottled water.
And this extends to the drink market too
In developed countries this group is drinking less. Hipsters wanting to avoid the booze can now opt for products such as Seedlip, a non-alcoholic drink for grown-ups, inspired by John French’s 17th-century herbal medicine book, ‘The Art of Distillation’ (1651). Made from peas, along with hay, rosemary and thyme it is too bitter to drink neat and even mixed with tonic is best sipped rather than gulped. It is the same price as an upmarket bottle of gin but sold out at its 2015 launch at Selfridges and is still one of the store’s best-selling drinks.