NEW GEN Z 101: Unlock & Outlast Microtrends
Apr 13 2017
Millennials’ and Gen Z’s interest in all things healthy-living is showing no sign of slowing down. Young consumers aren’t seeing all fat as the enemy, and for them dieting doesn’t necessarily mean low-cal, instead eating “natural” has become their priority. This preference for “natural,” “clean” ingredients has already made its mark on multiple industries. Once-popular but less-than-healthy foods, of course, were the first to feel the heat. With young consumers not drinking sweet carbonated beverages the way they used to, PepsiCo reports that almost half of its revenue now comes from healthy foods. The brand pledged to cut calories from their sugary drinks but has been moving at a “glacial pace.” Instead, almost half of their revenue is now coming from their “guilt-free” product category, like Baked Lay’s and Naked juices, 25% from “everyday nutrition” like water and healthier snacks, and the brand is admitting soda is “becoming a smaller part of” their future. Young consumers’ preoccupation with health has also caused a yogurt problem for General Mills, where sales in the category have nosedived 15%. The downturn is likely due to the new perspective that sugar, not fat, is the real diet evil—a shift that has caused low-fat and low-cal foods to “fall out of vogue.” (As we predicted.) In more positive, related, news for the brand, organic and natural products have seen “immense growth.”
They’re not the only ones who have benefitted from the organic/natural boom. Demand for all-natural, ‘simple’ foods is fueling trends and giving new brands big starts. A recent analysis by delivery service Instacart revealed that foods free “of basically everything” are trending into 2017. Halo Top, a lower-calorie and fat alternative to ice cream, experienced a 919% increase in searches, and the term “non-dairy” went up by 222%. Searches for a popular paleo-based diet “Whole 30,” also went up 292%, and the diet’s staples, chicken bone broth and grass-fed ground beef, were up 268% and 381%, respectively. But we’re starting to see Millennials’ and Gen Z’s health obsession move beyond the expected areas, and impact some surprising industries. Here are four getting a boost from their love of the natural:
Millennials grew up in a fat-phobic time, when butter, whole milk, and eggs were declared bad for them, and diet food and fat substitutes (remember Olestra?) reigned on the shelves. But suddenly, studies are telling them that natural, animal derived fats aren’t actually bad for them, and in fact, those substitutes were probably worse. This is a generation that is health conscious while being happy to indulge, and we once predicted that the idea of fat as something they should be eating could make it their next favorite food craze. Now, a new report shows that, their attitudes are in fact giving butter a comeback. Young consumers aren’t seeing all fat as the enemy, and for them dieting doesn’t necessarily mean low-cal, instead eating “natural” has become their priority. Citing butter’s simplicity, Packaged Facts forecasts, “when it comes to dairy products, the natural, full-fat versions of butter, milk, and cheese are more likely to be sought out because they are more natural and less processed.”
Millennials love for wine is changing the industry. The generation is embracing wines more than ever, and they aren’t “drinking their parent’s wine.” While they may only make up 29% of wine drinkers in the world, they account for 34% of total wine consumed, and twenty and thirtysomethings accounted for 42% of wine consumed in the U.S. in 2015. Forbes reports that this new generation of drinkers is looking for “authenticity,” and to “discover new wines”—and apparently organic wine is one category they’re thrilled to discover. According to Infiniti Research, younger drinkers’ healthy preferences are giving a boost to the global organic wine market, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.98% until 2021. Aldi is one wine brand playing to the opportunity, recently launching its first line of “sulfite-free, carbon-neutral wines that are both organic and environmentally-friendly.”
Millennials’ relationship with plants is budding. According to a 2016 National Gardening Report, five million of the six million new Americans that took up gardening in 2015 were between 18-34-years-old, and 37% of Millennials are growing indoor plants and herbs. The generation’s tendency to live within nature-starved cities is most likely a factor at play, but the founder of Sprout Home also cites Millennials’ affinity for healthier lifestyles: “A lot of people come into the store asking which plants give off the best oxygen; they’re actually very concerned and curious about making sure how they can better benefit their life, and plants can be a part of that.”
Young women are demanding “cleaner, greener beauty.” A recent Harris Poll survey reports that 73% of 18-34-year-old women are actively seeking cleaner, all-natural beauty products, and 62% do so by carefully looking over ingredient labels before making a purchase. Natural beauty brand Credo Beauty focuses on catering to the age group that has grown up on the internet: “They are curious, and love to research and understand ingredients and what they do…Our total focus is ingredient and brand education with our staff for that very reason.” Racked reports that natural beauty is a category young consumers are “clearly hungry for,” with revenues expected to exceed $13 billion by 2018. Brands are quickly jumping on board. Kiehl’s latest Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream plays into the trend towards natural beauty among young consumers, boasting ingredients like manuka honey and red ginseng root and providing backstories for each. According to brand: “It’s not enough just to be natural…Consumers want to know what the ingredients are, they want to research them and feel comfortable about that.”
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