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Millennials — how to cater to the new majority

The age cohort now in their late teens to early 30s will be the majority by 2050

When it comes to targeting millennials, emphasize sustainability and ethical business practices, as well as convenience and flavour variety.

In 2015, there were 9.5 million Canadians between the ages of 15 and 34 years old.

“As a group, they’re more ethnically diverse and well educated than any previous generation,” said Ava Duering, a competitiveness analyst with Alberta Agriculture. “Millennials are projected to increase in population to 2050 while the remaining segments of the population will experience a significant downturn.”

Millennials base their purchasing decisions on food that has been raised sustainably and ethically by businesses that are open and transparent about their operations, she said.

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“Millennials lead the way in favouring organic ingredients, and products that are locally grown — 30 per cent of millennials eat certified organic food. They don’t like to spend too much money, but they will pay more for organic and local food because they value supporting their community and what they deem to be healthy.”

They also love snack foods.

“Millennials are snacking more than any other generation,” said Duering. “According to trend watchers, 35 per cent of meals eaten by millennials are snacks where foods traditionally served at breakfast, lunch and dinner are combined. They enjoy variety and value the experience of trying new and exotic food.”

Not surprisingly, apps and social media play a big role.

“According to a recent study, one-quarter of them indicated a high interest in online shopping if their regular grocery store offered it,” she said. “According to the same study, 41 per cent of millennials use mobile shopping apps and 64 per cent use an app because it saves them money.”

Cooking from scratch, however, is rarely on the menu — millennials buy more frozen meals and other easy-to-prepare products, and they spend 44 per cent of their food budget on dining out.

Variety and diverse flavours are a priority.

“According to a recent study 40 per cent order something different every time they visit a restaurant. Millennials want food items that are fresh, creative, and made just for them.”

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