The Millennial Meal Plan

Today's post comes from Ypulse team member Gwen Radsch.

The Millennial Meal Plan

Food ArticleAs the US Census has frequently reported, the Millennial generation is extremely diverse. With this diversity comes an exposure to many different cultures, including traditional, and not-so-traditional, cuisine. International is becoming local and the flavors of every country have never been so easy to find as they are today. For example, in our Lifeline Report on Food and Beverage habits among Millennials conducted earlier this year, we found that 33% consume rice, almond, or soy milk at least occasionally. These types of milks were pretty rare not too long ago, but now a full third of Millennials consider them a standard part of their diet.

Millennials are approaching food and meals in a very different way; it is less about just grabbing a bite and more about creating a memory. A quick look at Instagram, Pinterest, or the many Tumblrs devoted to food will show you that this generation doesn’t just expect a meal at the dinner table, but rather to have an influential experience. Fully 1 in 5 (21%) Millennials report that they have attended a food festival which shows how food has evolved into more than just calories, but instead evokes a communal experience that was once reserved for music and Star Trek.

Recently, much has been made of the fact that Millennials are less brand loyal than Boomers when it comes to food purchases. It is possible that the economy is impacting whether this generation is willing to pay extra for a brand name, but given that they are in a highly experimental time in their lives, many of them cooking for themselves for the first time, it is more likely they haven’t figured out which aisle in the supermarket fits them best. The critical question, however, is do they even…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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