While some may subscribe to the idea that consumers don’t know what they want, a recent study from market researcher Packaged Facts says this isn’t the case when it comes to Millennials, whose purchasing power is quickly making an impact in the food industry. Millennials, or those age 18-34, have a proclivity for bold and confident individualism that extends to their food choices, researchers say.
In a recent report, Packaged Facts identifies the top five trends Millennials are inspiring:
-Customization: Today's consumers want food items that are fresh, creative, and made just for them. The Millennial definition of customized, personalized, made-to-order food goes way beyond “white, wheat, or rye” to encompass restaurant meals that are bespoke in their entirety. More than a third of Millennials order something different every time they visit a restaurant.
-Mashups: Cronuts, ramen burgers, nacho lasagna and “non-denominational noodle bars.” Taking up where fusion left off, the sky is the limit for the mashup trend, including a growing opportunity for consumers to get involved in the creation of the newest crazy-mixed-up food or beverage. Many Millennials are thrill-seeking foodies.
-Munchies: Ditching the three-meals-a-day standard, Millennials are reshaping how Americans eat, often opting for several snacks or small meals throughout the day. With 35 percent of Millennials trending toward snacks as meal replacements, munchies are now expected to be healthful, flavorful, and portable.
-Bowls: Burgers may still be king, but bowls are fast becoming the preferred vessel for everything from rice, noodles and salad to quinoa, acai, and poké. Whether the ingredients are customized or pre-set, bowls allow for creative expression and plenty of room for healthy ingredients, all within a familiar format.
-Shrubs and Digestives: As consumers become more interested in probiotics, shrubs and digestive have taken on new life in the market as beverages, mixers, and flavoring agents. The consumer search for healthier alternatives to sugary drinks has led to rekindled enthusiasm among Millennials for drinking vinegars, artisanal tonics, and kombucha, launching a segment of the beverage industry that is increasing in volume to match consumer interest.