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Millennial Menus: Culinary Trend Tracking Series
Demanding what you want, how you do and don’t want it, and when you want it are hallmarks of Millennials, the 69 million U.S. adults currently age 18-34, and it’s not just about food. Simmons data show that the Millennial age cohort is significantly more likely than those 35+ to like standing out in a crowd, to enjoy making fashion statements, and to expect their car to express their own personality. As the new slogan from Burger King has it, it’s not just “Have It Your Way”—it’s “Be Your Way.” This issue of Culinary Trend Tracking Series (CuTTS) explores how to cultivate the demanding but trend-setting Millennial generation as consumers by focusing on the following strategies and product categories:
Customization. Salad bars and self-service hot food stations set the stage in both foodservice and retail for a full-fledged customized dining lifestyle. Once customers get a taste of customization, they won’t look back.
Mashups. 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.
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% 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.
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