To understand the Millennial attitude toward snacking, and where it is taking that generation, the research tells us that we should consider three important elements: “Fun,” “Indulgence,” and “Health.”
In terms of fun, Millennial’s have a very adventurous palette.
Remember that this is a generation that has grown up with fusion foods e.g., Mexican flavored sushi, Thai flavors infused into pizza. The Millennial palette is very adventurous, and product developers should take note of that. Therefore, sweet and salty snacks, ethnic flavors, numerous global influences and numerous textures are all in play. Just taking the aspect of texture, the Millennial has experiences other generations have not been exposed to as a part of long-term experiences; for example, fried ice cream and bubble teas (Boba).
Taking this adventurous attitude forward, the hyper-life of Millennial’s, going from work to the gym to studying to coffee with friends have made them among the largest consumers of on the go mini-meals. These are “anytime snacks” for on-the-go consumers. There is a huge opportunity for on the go snacks; they may come in the form of a yogurt, a selection of various sweet and salty snacks or a selection of cheese and fruit.
The difference between these types of snacks and other snack selections that past generations enjoyed was that the Millennial seeks on-the-go meal replacements with healthy twists and alternatives. Examples of this might include root chips (such as Yucca), rather than potato chips – and they may have flavors such as Thai-Ginger; roasted coconut chips, fruit and nut blends and granola chips (rather than needing to eat granola as a cereal).
It is important that the healthy eating choices are focused on energy and vitality and the overall health and wellness experience. It needs to be remembered that Millennial’s have grown up with school lunch programs and vending services that have sharply cut back on so-called “Junk food.”
Nevertheless, in terms of snack food choices, this generation likes it indulgences. A good case to bring up is Trader Joe’s, the grocery chain whose demographic is skewed to younger college educated singles, couples and small families. It is the 18 to 34 year-old experience.
It is interesting to note that of the top 3 products that Trader Joe’s sold in 2013 were: Ginger Snaps, Speculoos Cookie Butter and Joe Joe’s Cookies.
Cookie butter is fascinating in that the three spreads have interesting textures, indulgent ingredients and flavor – and though obviously delicious, the ingredients are pure and natural. As a mini-meal, the cookie butters may be spread on apple slices or eaten right from the jar.
In the future snack foods for this demographic will increasingly encompass these nutritional values.