A new study released this September at the 2017 SupplySide West conference in the U.S. confirms millennials' pivotal role in upending long-standing "truths" within the food, beverage and supplement categories. Conducted by CBD Marketing in Chicago, the research analysed 12.5 million social media posts and other online commentary specific to the three product groups from U.S. millennials, ages 18 to 35. The study covered a one-year period ending August 2017. Women created 62 percent of the content; men 38 percent. More than 80 percent of the content and posts appeared on social media platforms.
"Consumer products companies are obsessed with millennials and with good reason," said CBD Marketing's Co-CEO Lori Colman. "They are one-fourth of the population and represent $10 trillion in lifetime buying power. Millennials share their opinions and buying habits online via social media platforms and on other sites. Businesses and brands that mine this treasure trove of online data will be the ones that market their products successfully."
Millennials and Food (based on analysing 8.6 million online posts and comments)
- Want healthy, natural food; like to cook and prep meals; support alternative food distribution via meal delivery and meal services.
- Buy from environmentally conscious manufacturers and purveyors; want transparency.
- Love smoothies; breakfast is important; gravitate to cultural flavours and foods like Scandinavian and Indian.
- Not interested in dieting or fat-free foods, TV dinners or other "helper" convenience foods, snack foods or foods that satisfy "cravings," steak and potatoes.
- Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are in; Wal-Mart and multi-purpose grocery stores are out.
Millennials and Beverages (based on analysing 2.2 million online posts and comments)
- Thumbs up to flavoured, sparkling and plain water, "better-for-you" drinks promoting energy, immunity, digestive health; alternative juices like aloe, coconut.
- Big on plant-based milks, green teas and fermented beverage like kombucha, cold brew.
- "No thank you" to soda and pop (average annual consumption has dropped to 38 gallons per person in 2016 from 54 gallons per person in 1998), diet shakes and fruit juices like apple, cranberry and orange.
- Not interested in dairy milk (average annual consumption has dropped to 18 gallons per person in 2016 from 30 gallons per person in 1976) or plain old coffee.
Millennials and Supplements (based on analysing 1.7 million online posts and comments)
- Protein and powders (close to 800,000 mentions) are important, as is clean label.
- Losing interest in pills, weight-loss products, impure ingredients, whey.