Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 21, 2009



67 Pages
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Packaged Facts - Hear that rumble? It's the sound of a generation finding its voice. Generation Y - those born between 1980 and 2000, also known as Millennials - is the lion just now trying out its roar. With total membership as high as 78 million (our study focuses on the approximately 40 million consumers between the ages of 18 and 28), Millennials represent an irresistible customer pool - and not just because of their numbers. Call them Generation Me, Echo Boomers, whatever: more than any demographic in history, Millennials go beyond mere spending power. Weaned in a culture that's urged them to define themselves as PC or Mac, Abercrombie & Fitch or H&M, In-N-Out or McDonald's, Gen Y is the ultimate savvy, brand-sensitive consumer cluster. Any manufacturer, retailer, or foodservice operator without a laser focus on this generation needs to play catch-up. Fast.

As the most multicultural group in U.S. history, growing up in an amazing world of technological marvels and almost infinite choice, Millennials are the ultimate megaconsumers.

Instead of highlighting trends, we focus on essential traits of Millennials that shape their food and beverage choices - now and for decades to come. Our comments paint a comprehensive portrait of the Millennial eater:

Happy in The Third Place: how Gen Y eats and socializes in communal spaces, real or virtual

Gen Wired: the tech component of Millennial eating, from text ordering to the cybertainment restaurant

Thrill Aficionados: Gen Y's love of heightened experiences, flavors that are complex and layered, with acidic zip

Mashup Artists: this is all about customization, especially in appreciating and (better yet) creating hybrid cuisines and flavors

Planet Savers: Gen Y's social consciousness, an interest in local and organic, fair trade and vegetarian/vegan options even for omnivores

Amped and Gorgeous: Gen Y is nutraceutical and supplement savvy, having been raised by health-conscious Boomer parents

Authentic "Kewlness": What makes some foods and products cool to Gen Y? Hint: look under the radar

All told, the report offers plenty of ideas about the best ways for manufacturers, marketers and foodservice operators to thrive. Prepare yourself - this is one generation whose taste buds you'll be tickling for a long, long time.


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