Gen Y Driving Innovations and Choice for Food Companies


Gen Y Makes Its Own Rules When It Comes to Food 1/21/09


Gen Y consumers grew up with more choices when it came to places to buy food, types of cuisine and access to technology. Today, those consumers, now between the ages of 13 and 28, are in the process of creating a whole new set of rules about eating and food.

According to How Gen Y Eats Culinary Trend Mapping Report from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts, food marketers need to focus on what drives these consumers to buy… and fast. If not, they’ll be off to some other brand or eating establishment not only taking their purchases with them but also those of elder generations.

“Generation Y has a game-changing approach to food consumption that will definitely affect how other demographics, including Gen Xs and Baby Boomers, shop and eat,” said Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD, in a press release.

Gen Y consumers, according to the report, are health-conscious largely because of the influence of their Baby Boomer parents. They are also “Thrill Aficionados,” according to the study, “craving heightened eating experiences, like intense, layered and global flavors.”

These consumers have also been dubbed “Mashup Artists,” because of their desire to “customize food” to meet their individual needs.

Discussion questions:  How do you think Gen Y consumers are influencing food and how we eat today? What will the eating behaviors of Gen Y consumers mean for companies in the food business in years to come?

My post: 

As the father of 2 Gen Y sons (20 and 22), one of whom is a trained chef, I am seeing first hand the impact of Gen Y on how our food preferences are evolving.  Their tastes have been far more sophisticated than our generation their whole lives.  Their exposure to eclectic food options from an early age forged an appreciation and an expectation for choice, unique flavors, and unusual combinations.  They are willing to try almost anything and have developed sophisticated palettes for categories like wine and cheese, and types of cuisine such as Indian, Thai and regional Chinese.

However, like all generations, their and their friends’ top choices continue to be pizza and other familiar favorites.  Food companies are doing a reasonably good job in offering a combination of familiar and new/innovative choices.  Due to the speed of food consumption, it is not difficult to discern the trends of food choice.  Simply test and pay attention to consumer purchase patterns and decide to focus on either comfort/familiar or innovative.  Don’t try to do both.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

Go to the full discussion at


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