The Food Rush: Delivering High End Plates On Demand

Millennials are seeing food as the new status symbol, and expecting everything on demand. The combination is leading to a new market of tech companies rushing to fulfill their foodie needs.

In our Ypulse Quarterly report trend spotlight, we told you that food is becoming the new status symbol. 52% of Millennials 21-32-years-old would rather go to a food festival than a music festival, and 61% of Millennials ages 21-24 would rather have dinner at a new restaurant than buy a new pair of shoes. Food has been a fixation for the generation for years, but now it’s also becoming a way to show that they are worldly, interesting, and having a coveted experience. Today, sharing a picture of expensive cheeses, a pricey lobster roll eaten on a Tuesday, or a VIP sweet is the equivalent of saying, “I’m so fancy,” and inviting social envy the way a nice bag or jewelry would have ten years ago. As food experiences climb up the wishlists of Millennials, they’re looking for new and easier ways to access them.

At the same time, Millennials are changing the way that luxury is defined: it can mean rarity, convenience, ease of access, material sourcing—all separate from that age-old notion of expense and pretense. Having a smaller indulgent moment in their everyday lives is a part of that blurring definition.

So young consumers are looking for moments of luxury in their everyday and are looking to food to fill that gap. They’ve also been trained to expect things on demand. Seamless has made the concept of clicking a button to order a meal a natural part of their lives; apps like Uber are taking that on-demand expectation even further with car-services that arrive on the touch of a screen. (Uber has even hinted that their future could be in delivering all things on demand.) So it should be no surprise…

 
 

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“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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