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In three years’ time, Millennials will represent half of Europe’s working population. Breaking away from the baby boomer generation, Millennials are massively influencing the way we eat. But marketers find it a challenge to describe them without caricaturing them. To get a better understanding of the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of the 16-34 age group with regards to food, Kantar recently carried out a survey for the latest issue of Food is Social. This has taught us a lot about how to address this population at the heart of the food of tomorrow!

  • Digital First: for inspiration, information, preparation and planning

The survey confirms that the 18-34 age group now consumes more digital than traditional media. Millennials spend 5 hours a day on-line, 2 hours more than the average for digital media, with a staggering increase in mobile use.

As Médiamétrie announced at the end of 2016, the time spent on various digital devices had outstripped the TV for the first time.

When it comes to food, Millennials consume significantly more digital media than their predecessors, with the following top 4 uses:

  • Looking for recipes and menu ideas (88%)
  • Comparing the price of food products (59%)
  • Getting information about brands and products (49%)
  • Sharing photos of food (46%)

Not counting the particular fad for connected objects in the kitchen, or applications that help track food intake (read our article on the FoodVisor app).

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  • Practicality at the heart of the meal

Millennials now adopt the main course/dessert formula for their meals, leaving behind the traditional starter-main course-cheese-dessert structure. But the aperitif still has an important place!

As far as food choices are concerned, they’re based on the following triptych: Enjoyment/practicality/health

Practicality has to be at the heart of culinary preparation: Millennials love to ‘assemble’ rather than spend a long time cooking.

As shown by the last Intermarché video which tells the story of a young man learning about healthy eating as he walks round the shevles of his supermarket, the culinary culture of the Millennials is more about getting things done quickly and improvising rather than passing things down!

  • The most sensitive to natural and organic produce

Kid-free Millennials are the best drivers of the growth of organic: the share of organic products in their basket is 3.6% compared with 3.1% for the general population.

Also called “Generation Why”, they say they much prefer green, natural, healthy products.

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  • Less frequent shopping via different channels

The new generation frequent supermarkets less, showing more variety in where they buy their food with local and specialist shops. They’re also more enthusiastic about direct buying, e-commerce and leaving out the middle-man (veg boxes, virtual restaurants).

  • Marked differences even within Millennials:

How does an 18 year old student’s relationship with food compare with that of a working 30 year old? The details of the Kantar survey show a marked difference!

Millennials under 25 are more involved than their elders in the digitalisation of food: more favourable to the use of 3D food, more invested in communities, more active in photo sharing or the use of mobile apps.

The other variable is the arrival of a child in the Millennials’ life. Studies relating to YEMMS (young educated millennial mums) show that the dietary behaviour of under 34s changes considerably when a child comes along.