Press release submitted by Concentric

Concentric, a consumer branding, marketing and innovation firm released findings from their in-depth nationwide study of more than 1,200 Millennials, ages 18 to 34. Concentric’s in-depth study looks past the over-generalization of this 80 million strong age cohort to further shed light on the underlying drivers behind their unique behaviors and expectations, as it relates to the food industry. Here are the topline findings from this study.

Concentric has identified six unique Millennial personas that can help the food industry to segment this enormous generation, and message to them in more targeted and engaging ways. The six unique personas are:

  1. Hyped Up (social superstars) 
  2. Frugellenials (self-proclaimed savers) 
  3. Fauxganics (“healthy” as a lifestyle) 
  4. Old School Cool (old is in) 
  5. Carmen San Diegos (exotic adventure seekers) 
  6. Boomerangs (homegrown loyalists) 

“Millennials are the topic of endless discussion and analysis because, as an Industry they make us uncomfortable, they’re far from the “traditional shopper,” says Bob Shaw, President of Concentric.

“While there are many similarities that unify Millennials, it will be the savvy brands that dig deeper to uncover their true differences and find the right balance of segmentation and generalization that will be disruptive enough to truly engage with them.”

Of course, Millennial behaviors are partially a byproduct of life stage, like frugality. Their median household income is a mere $24,973, according to Nielsen; they have to be smarter shoppers. Yet the underlying truth is that their raised expectations and resulting behaviors are less likely to change, as they grow older.

“Millennials have only known a world of warp speed change and endless choice and customization — a new-age world, driven by technology and globalization that is new to previous generations, yet, is their norm,” says Bob Shaw, President of Concentric. “This hyper-reality colors how they see the world. It shapes their reality to believe that anything and everything should be possible. And, it forever raises their expectations for what, where and how they prefer to eat.”

Millennial shoppers are frugal, shop at specialty stores, are adventurous

Here are just a few facts that illustrate the impact change, choice and customization has had.

  • 53% are definitely more frugal now and pay a lot more attention to what products cost.
  • As such, 40% shop once a week with a plan in mind and shopping list in hand.
  • 26% are currently or would consider buying food from Amazon
  • Only a third of Millennials believe that grocery stores have evolved to fit their lifestyle.
  • 27% prefer to shop specialty stores like Trader Joe’s and health food stores like Whole Foods.
  • 38% believe that their expectations for more and better choices are greater than their parents.
  • 52% of men equally share or take the lead with grocery shopping, and 65% with cooking.

They’re adventurous and seek authentic food products. As kids, more than 40% were exposed to a variety of ethnic foods like Thai and Indian. 44% find products inspired by other cultures more appealing. Only 9% say it’s just a marketing ploy.

Concentric uncovered deeper truths behind five common millennial myth-conceptions about Social Media, Natural/Organic, Philanthropy, Spokespeople and Marketing.

Here our insight for two of these areas.
Social media: Millennials live online yet prefer that brands stay out of their personal space. 40% feel brands are simply trying to sell to them and not talk with them. 70% follow three or fewer brands across all social media. 39% do not like to follow brands.

Natural/Organic. They’re not obsessive with health; they simply expect “healthier” food choices. 56% cook more often and 52% make healthier food choices since moving out of their parents’ home. 49% packaged and prepared foods must contain real ingredients vs. 17% organic. 75% would buy more frozen, refrigerated and dairy foods, if they provided more nutritional benefits.

Concentric explored Millennial eating and shopping habits, attitudes and preferences towards foods, brands and retailers, as well as opportunities for new product innovations within the Refrigerated and Frozen Food Category. Here are a few interesting insights.

  • Millennials spend about 30 minutes to prepare a meal at least a few days a week
  • 56% self-identify as “semi-homemade” cooks who use fresh ingredients along with meal starters (refrigerated or frozen protein) to save time.
  • 40% would reconsider brands they grew up with but no longer buy, if they offered more healthy ingredients – 31%, if they offered new, more interesting flavors or preparations.
  • When evaluating nutritional labels,Protein (53%) is most important to both genders, followed by Vitamins (46%), Calories (41%), Sodium (37%), and Trans Fats (35%).
  • The top 3 healthy/trendy ingredients are Whole Grains (50%), Yogurt (41%), and Oats (31%)
  • 35% believe that Millennials, in general, prefer quick meal solutions (frozen and refrigerated meals;more so than their parents. 44% regularly use frozen and canned foods to make preparation easier. 
  • 50% read grocery store ads and use store loyalty cards for deals.

About Concentric

Concentric is a branding, marketing and innovation firm with a specialization in the launch, re-launch and acceleration of CPG brands on a national scale, through creation of Disproportionate Mindshare™. Core to our business is gleaning Actionable Insights from extremely focused quantitative and qualitative methods into how people think, communicate, make decisions and act, ultimately, empowering brands around new product innovation, branding, single-strand creative and trade and channel success. In the span of 14 years, over 150 companies have trusted Concentric to build and grow their unique brands.