With the rise of the Millennial generation came the rise of a generation of “foodies.”
These Millennial foodies are also now the market’s greatest generation of snackers, leading this new frontier of the food industry with a demand for unique flavors and product options. This stems from their elevated interest in exceptional experiences that lend themselves to personal growth. Millennials have a large appetite for adventure, and flavor adventures fit within that experience framework. More so than any generation before them, Millennials want to experiment.
With this in mind, food brands across the board are deliberating on how they can innovate new ways to satisfy the tastebuds of these influential consumers. To succeed, these are the top three Millennial flavor trends they need to be aware of:
Why go for plain sweet or straight salt when you can have a complex mixture of bold flavor from bite to bite? That’s the thinking of Millennial snackers who want to branch out from the traditional and the, dare we say, boring. Potential brand innovation in this space lends itself to trending and mainstream ingredient combinations (e.g., machta in chocolate cake) and texture changes. Pairings of sweets with savory is especially popular. Brands should also pay attention to how they can utilize need state, as consumers looking to indulge are most likely to experiment.
Millennials are a generation set on exploring the world and learning about cultures outside of their own, and this is no different when it comes to snacking. These consumers have a diverse palate that has only expanded based on their international adventures. According to the McCormick Flavor Forecast, ethnic options now account for nearly half of all flavor occasions in the United States. Major ethnic flavor influences include Filipino/Southeast Asian, Peruvian/Brazilian and regional Hispanic. Brands should make ethnic product options easy for consumers to identify by being specific when it comes to origin and identity on product descriptions. This will be important to consider when considering potential innovation in packaging.
In the same way that Millennial consumers blew up the craft beer market for its artisanal and authentic identity, they are on track to do the same with similar snack options. They go for what can be considered “gourmet” or “organic” and it’s important that brands understand how to appeal to these more sophisticated taste buds. While dairy products and those that use varietals are already positioned more positively in this space (think gourmet cheeses and specialty baked goods), there’s still potential for innovation across category verticals in regards to ingredients and subsequent packaging. Brands should consider how they can add artisanal value in these ways to their offerings.
The Millennial cohort poses challenging yet exciting room for growth in the CPG snacking space. For brands, now is the time to identify the most important snacking trends that impact innovation and act accordingly to resonate with the largest consumer group of snackers ever.
To learn more about the millennial influence on the snacking category, download our latest research report The Snack Hack: What You Need to Know About Modern Consumer Snacking Culture.