Each month, we will be bringing you the latest observations and trends from CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights, one of our valued partners. The monthly post features observations from the food and beverage world as well as consumer outlooks and trends to watch from multiple industries, with the goal of bringing inspiration to our readers. 

Today's post features four observations from CEB Iconoculture for the month of September 2014. We'll be focusing on millennials and showing some recent observations from personalization to packaging. The millennial generation is important as ever as evidenced by Iconoculture, so we will continue to feature millennial centered articles on in-sight.

Be sure to check back on in-sight every month for the latest feature in this series.


Something Personal: Millennials and even younger consumers are enjoying the process, and results, of creating their own personal package designs 

Call it the selfie-ization of packaging. Brand owners with products that appeal to young adults, teens and kids are putting the power of personalization to work, offering DIY design tools, events, contests — and, of course, social media engagement — to help Millennials and Gen We consumers create packaging that reflects their individuality. Beverage, candy and personal-care brands are pioneering the strategy.

Related: Talking About Our Generations: Millennials

The desire for personalized experiences among young adults, and the kiddos right behind them, is personalized packaging's fundamental driver. “For teens and Millennials, personalization is not a fad, it’s a way of life,” Coca-Cola North America senior vice president of sparkling brands, Stuart Kronauge, says. “It’s about self-expression, individual storytelling and staying connected with friends” (Coca-ColaCompany.com/Stories, 10 June 2014).

The Coca-Cola Company recently used its iconic packaging to tune into those values: In June 2014, the company launched the US version of its Share a Coke campaign. Labels on limited-time Share a Coke bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero are printed with the 250 most popular US Millennial and teen names.

Ferrero, U.S.A., Inc., which owns the Tic Tac brand, is also using a combination of events and web-based tools to promote its Tic Tac pack personalization campaign, which launched in Spring 2014. The Tic Tac My Pack microsite guides visitors through the process of custom designing virtual packages of the mints. Finished designs include the consumer’s first name, preferred font color and label graphics and a custom mix of mint flavors and colors. The virtual packs can be added to the microsite’s gallery and shared via Facebook and Twitter. “We know that Millennials, our primary target audience, appreciate products that offer personalization and that our customers often combine our Tic Tac mints into interesting combinations,” explains Tic Tac mints category manager Todd Midura (FoodProductionDaily.com, 9 April 2014).


Young "fauxsumers" love to shop, but find buying a bore 

Millennials love to window-shop, both online and in old-fashioned stores. They also adore making wishlists, and pinning their finds to sites like WeHeart It. But when it comes time to slap down plastic, they're more likely to walk away from their real or virtual cart and get back to the fun part of shopping: browsing.

Half of 14- to 34-year-old "fauxsumers" share products that they have no intention of purchasing on apps like Wish, while a third of the cohort enjoy browsing more than buying, according to a Cassandra Report survey (CassandraDaily.com, 13 May 2014).

Related: Debunking The Myth That All Millennials Are The Same

While they like the social status that comes with sharing cool stuff, exchanging cash for goods leaves young adults cold — and not just because they can't afford them. Less attached to owning objects than previous gens, Millennial dematerialists would rather have "unlimited options" than "instant ownership," as we reported in 2013.


22-year-olds take demo crown, leaving Boomers in the dust 

Bye-bye, Boomers. The mega-demo's half-century reign is officially over. Sometime between 2011 and 2013, Millennials reached a tipping point and dethroned Boomers from their demographic perch as the most populous generation.

As of 2014, there are more 22-year-olds in the US than people of any other age, according to Census Bureau data (TheWire.com, 23 May 2014). This marks the first time since 1947 that Boomers haven't topped the population ranks.

Following close behind the 22 brigade? Their 23- and 21-year-old siblings. In fourth place, bringing up the rear, are 53-year-olds, born in 1961, at the tail end of the nearly two-decade-long Baby Boom.'

Related: Millennials in the USA (Symrise 4 Part Series)

The surfeit of Millennials, also known as the Echo Boom, is mostly the result of Boomers reproducing their own mini-me's (1991-93 were especially fruitful years). But immigration has also played a role, adding younger people to the citizenry. At about age 40, the numbers start to drop off.


Mexican American Millennials explore their pulque and mezcal roots

In US bars big and small, Millennial Mexican Americans are rediscovering two of Mexico's traditional drinks: pulque and mezcal.

Pulque has been brewed in Mexico since pre-Colonial times. It is the mildly sour, gently fermented nectar of agave. Long the mainstay of the poor, pulque is enjoying a resurgence among Mexico’s young and hip. A step further down the distillation process is pulque’s more refined cousin, mezcal (a smokier version of tequila). Mexicans are intent on trying the wide array of mezcal after having tasted their way through many of the finer tequilas available.

INFOGRAPHIC: Key Hispanic Flavors in the U.S.

In both instances, the atmosphere is just as important as the drink. At pulquerias and mezcalerias (bars that specialize in the drinks, in both Mexico and the US), you’ll find a fun, youthful, edgy vibe. See: NYC’s Pulqueria and Houston’s mezcaleria The Pastry War.

Check out last month's Top Observations HERE 


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