Growing Up In A Fast Food Nation

mcpretendingIn the latest Ypulse Monitor and Ypulse Report (see full summaries in our Research Roundup) we saw the enduring pull of young, hungry students to fast food joints, specifically those of the burger variety. Cheap, reliable and probably just off campus,  our research found nearly all (nine-out-of-10) college students and teens had gone to restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s in the past month, at a frequency of about four times a month/once a week. McDonald’s also came up as the #1 option for lunch, dinner, snacking (and increasingly even coffee!) spot for both demos. For all of the reasons stated above (price, reliability location), this trend isn’t a surprising one, but with rates of childhood and teen obesity staying at epidemic levels especially among low-income youth, it does raise some health concerns.

While “Happy Meals” and the like have undergone a healthful makeover as of late (apple “fries” instead of fries, milk instead of soda, etc.) for tweens/concerned parents, and older consumers are targeted with the contradiction in terms that is the “fast food diet,” teens and young adults get lost somewhere in between, lured instead by what’s tasty and cheap, i.e. the dollar menu-type items. While two out of three teens and college students reported going to the potentially healthier, sandwich shop chains like Subway or Quizno’s over the same period of time, the wide range of choices available still include poor picks like Quizno’s Tuna Melt, rated the number one unhealthiest sandwich of 2009. I also recalled a negative responses to the price difference of sandwich shops at the youth-hosted forum on childhood obesity I attended back in September and the “no duh” look students gave when considering the choice between a “$5 Footlong” and the wide variety of cheaper…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because I am creating a punk sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon costume for comic con and I worked really hard on it, so I will wear it any chance I can.” –Female, 21, NY

The nostalgic details and music that filled Guardians of the Galaxy were a major part of making it the superhero movie that Millennials want right now, and they’re continuing to use that nostalgia now that the film is out of theaters. The movie’s soundtrack, Awesome Mix Vol. 1, is being released as a limited edition cassette tape this November, in time for Black Friday. The fact that cassette tapes are considered by many to be a dead technology won't likely stop young consumers looking for a retro-style piece of the movie. The album has already been released as a digital download, CD, and vinyl, and is already the tenth largest selling album of 2014 so far. (Billboard)

GoldieBlox has had impressive success as a toy startup focused on promoting engineering to young girls. Now the brand is expanding into digital products with their first (free) iOS app, GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine, and Bloxtown.com, a “digital playground” of interactive games. The app teaches about animation and allows young users to create GIFs that they can then use in a physical construction set they have built themselves. (PSFK)

Some of Vine’s biggest stars are coming to TV. Rainn Wilson, of The Office and SoulPancake fame, is working on a scripted comedy that will follow five of the app’s most popular Viners ”as they try to break into Hollywood.” The show, appropriately named Hollywood and Vine, will be the first traditional TV show to have a cast of mostly Vine stars, but could benefit from their online fans: the digital stars chosen have a collective following of over 30 million. (The Verge)

Breaking Bad was a story of meth and murder that was hugely appealing to older Millennial audiences, so some parents are objecting strongly to dolls of the main characters of the show being on the shelves at Toys “R” Us. A petition to take the Walter and Jesse action figures out of the chain and moved to “an appropriate store” was started online by one Florida mom and already has over 7,000 signatures. One of the figures comes with “a sack of cash, and a bag of blue crystals”—a.k.a. toy meth—so we can kind of understand the concern. (Racked)

Can Elsa and Anna help get kids to eat healthy? Previous studies have found that labeling fruits and vegetables with cartoons makes them significantly more appealing to children, and Disney-branded produce sales have reportedly tripled in the last two years. Bags of apples with Frozen and Spider-Man characters are being released this month as a continuation of the effort to get families to live healthier lifestyles. (Brand Channel)

Did you know every month, Ypulse surveys our Millennial panel of over 60,000, asking 1,000 14-32-year-olds about current events, seasonal trends, changing attitudes, and new norms? The results of these bi-weekly survey results are delivered to our Gold subscribers on Ypulse as downloadable tables, with data broken out by age, gender, ethnicity, location, and education. (Ypulse)

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