4 Millennial Food Pioneers: Insight from Millennial 20/20

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

These Millennial culinary innovators could change how their generation eats, are sparking major trends, and shaping the future of food…

This month, we’re sharing insights we learned while on the first two days of March, which we spent hanging with the movers and shakers of the youth marketing scene at the Millennial 20/20 conference in New York. We heard players across industries talking about how Millennials are changing the way that we all do business—including some Millennial pioneers of the food industry, who are using their unique personal histories and perspectives to innovate, disrupt and redesign what we eat and how it’s made.

As we stated a year ago in our coverage of the Food+Tech Connect event: “the Millennial vision of the food industry can be best described as a total rejection of the consumer packaged goods industry as we currently know it.” At Millennial 20/20, we caught up with a few of the food industry innovators that we met last year, and discovered some exciting new players radically reshaping what we eat. Riding a wave of Millennial consumer demand, these companies are rising to the challenge, creating healthy and sustainable food options. Here’s what we heard from Impossible Foods, Imperfect Produce, Exo, and Back to the Roots at the NYC Millennial 20/20 summit:

The Name Says It All: Impossible Foods

Chief Strategy Officer Nick Halla has been with Impossible Foods from the outset, and told the brands’ story to a packed audience at the conference. The company began over five years ago, when Stanford University medical researcher Dr. Pat Brown took a sabbatical to contemplate how he could have the greatest impact on the world for the remainder of his career. He formed Impossible Foods to answer the question: “how do we feed the world today, given the scaling…

 
 

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“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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