By Esther Franklin and Danielle Cherry, Starcom MediaVest Group

This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Symrise Series

More of life is being consumed in bite-sized portions and interactions with food have become less structured. Casual eating, or snacking, makes up over half of our meal occasions, vs. the three square meals of years past. Snacking is a long-term trend and the future of eating.

At the center of this ‘snack as extension of lifestyle’ phenomenon are millennials. They have had tremendous impact on the flavors, textures and ingredients of today’s exploding snack category. Over 40% of the generation is multicultural. In fact, today’s millennial more likely to be a U.S.  Latino. Across multiple data sources, we discovered new food experiences, rich with cultural fusion, tradition and modern day snacking fun.

INFOGRAPHIC: Latino Snacking

Like other millennials, U.S. Hispanics are also navigating adulthood in an uncertain age, full of choice and complexity. However, the U.S. Hispanic millennial is the nucleus of a phenomenon that’s shifting the Latino identity landscape: They are uniquely Latino and American at the same time. For the vast majority of Hispanic millennials, theirs is a bicultural, bilingual American story. It’s a dynamic that began with their generation, and they’ve demonstrated unique behaviors and motivations that define ‘living in the hyphen.’

INFOGRAPHIC: Latino Taste Preferences

Within our proprietary research, the Beyond Demographics™ Latino Identity Study, we uncovered a subset of identities that help to define U.S. Hispanic millennial experience:

  • Hurbanos: Their life and identity is diverse because of where they grew up and how they choose to live…a product of nurture over nature.
  • MIAs (Modern Independent Achievers): The choices MIAs make are personal – it’s not a social movement or a ‘statement.’ She scripts her life on her terms and was taught to be independent and outspoken from childhood.
  • Retro Acculturators: Retros were triggered into ‘re-discovering’ their Latino roots. They’re now making sure their new families know and celebrate their culture.
  • Los Exitosos: They adapt to their environment in a seamless, savvy way. They’ve figured out how to leverage the system as bicultural to fit their needs: Reaping the benefits of the emergence of Hispanic prominence in American culture.

So what does all of this choice and demand and ‘biculturalness’ mean, when it comes to casual eating?

  • As food becomes a cultural and social marker of identity and status, even a snack can be elevated to an experience, with multisensory inputs that enhance taste or flavor;
  • Snacks become more and more of their mealtime (35% of their meals aren’t meals, rather snacks);
  • This generation expects food occasions to reflect their elevated sense of self back to them: That they are authentic, diverse and social.

Check back next week for Part 2 of this Series! 

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