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Millennials and their Consumer Culture

Millennials are not to be underestimated. By the latest projections from Bloomberg, millennials are set to save the economy. Although they already make up the majority of the workforce, forty-eight percent of it to be exact

Recently we’ve released an article on the importance of good packaging. We’ve argued that good packaging can make-or-break entire brands. Well… at least when it comes to newly-established ones. The older, more popular brands have extremely loyal customer bases, but they still have to make good-looking packages. How come?

It all comes down to current consumer trends. But what are these trends and who sets them, you ask? Good question. In our previous article, we’ve concluded that the so-called “millennials” are the driving force behind modern consumer trends. The term “millennial” applies to people born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s.

All of these so-called millennials are now becoming active members of the economy. Millennials make up about forty-eight percent of the active workforce in the United States. As such, they represent the majority of the consumer base. Due to this, they have the ability to set the consumer trends that the major food producers have to follow.

But why do these major players in the biscuit industry have to abide by these trends? What difference does it make if a biscuit package looks one way or another? The answer is pretty simple, actually. We’ve repeated this a dozen times already, but the major companies have to cater their products to their customers.

millennials statistics

Otherwise, all of these brands would shoot themselves in the foot… major companies cannot expect a potential consumer to buy their products if it’s not suited to his or her needs. And there are a lot of trends that have been set by the millennial majority.

We’ve already touched upon this in our previous article, but we thought it’d be a great idea if we expanded further upon it. For starters, millennials like simplicity, and this can be credited to the fact that we live in a busy and hectic world.

Most of us work eight-hour shifts. Besides our careers, we also have to take care of our families and personal lives. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed… and it can be hard to get some rest and relaxation. That is why simplicity is one the major trends in the food industry.

Seriously, pay a quick visit to your nearest store and check out the various brands of biscuits that you can find. Soon enough, you’ll notice a pattern. All of the packages are simple, made with saturated colours and only the most important info on the front.

This is so that potential buyers can easily spot the biscuits or snacks that suit their needs. But why? Aren’t all the biscuits same? Obviously not! There are many reasons why someone would search for some specific snacks. It could be due to their lifestyle, their diet or their preference towards some flavours.

And since millennials have very little time to spare for themselves, they want to be able to find the products they need with little effort. If a company doesn’t follow this trend, chances are that their potential customers are going to purchase products from their competition. This way, the business is losing profit, and no company wants that.  As for today’s article, we’ll be expanding on the different trends that influence how millennials make their purchases.

Figure 1 - A Biscuit in a Coffee Shop

 A Biscuit in a Coffee Shop

Major biscuit industry trends: Convenience is everything!

You’ve probably already heard of convenience food, haven’t you? You might have even had the guilty pleasure of enjoying a convenience meal after deciding to go on a diet… but you shouldn’t feel guilty because of that. The truth is… very few people can afford themselves the time to properly plan their diets.

Before we continue any further, we have a little disclaimer: We’ve purposely left out the statistics from the text. If you’re interested in some numbers, you’ll be able to find a neat little infographic at the end of the article. For now, we’ll be discussing the major millennial trends without going into all the numbers.

Back to the matter at hand… as we’ve said in the paragraphs above, very few people have the precious time to properly organize their diet. Hell, most of us can’t even properly plan-out our chores and obligations. But we wouldn’t credit this to laziness. Not many people have the necessary stamina to plan anything after a hard day’s work.

That is why so many people look for convenient ways to ease every aspect of their lives. They look for convenience in home management, grocery shopping, clothing, furniture, electronics, everything basically…

The same goes for snacks and biscuits. Millennials look for these things in the products they purchase: practicality, flavour, size, originality and convenience. Well… some of these can be put under the same category, as we’ll soon see.

Let’s start with the obvious. As we’ve mentioned in the beginning of the article, less equals more. Millennials, as well as other generations, lead hectic lifestyles. Hence their need for practical and convenient food. But what does this mean?

There are many ways that biscuits and snacks can be convenient. For example, many companies are incorporating see-through spaces in their packages so that the customers have a chance to peruse the product they’re purchasing.

Along with these see-through spaces, they also make their packages resealable. Because of this, such packages are easy to transport, as you won’t have crumbs all over your backpacks or handbags. The added bonus is that the products retain their freshness!

And since we’ve touched upon the issue of transportation, size is also an important factor in the current food industry. Millennials like to have choice. Why? Because you can’t bring an extra-large package of biscuits to work! Well… you can, but… you’re sure to raise a few eyebrows. And it’s not practical!

Luckily, most brands offer different sized packages for every occasion. You can buy smaller-sized packages for lunch breaks or family-sized ones when you wish to surprise your loved ones.

This is both convenient and practical. When it comes to originality, millennials like to express themselves. We live in an age of social medias, where everyone posts everything. That is why millennials like to modify their food by combining different flavours and making it look good. Just take a look at the number of recipes that can be made from the simple Oreo cookies, for example.

Who wouldn’t be proud of their delicious-looking Oreo cheesecake once they’ve made it? All of these aspects of consumer culture come together to form what we dubbed the “convenience trends” of the modern food industry. One thing leads to another, and these were clear-cut examples of how millennials influence the market.

Major biscuit industry trends: What about health?

Millennials are not only concerned with cost, convenience and practicality. When it comes to snacks and biscuits, they also want to eat healthy products. They’ll even pay more for something that is organic, free-from or non-GMO.

But why? Well, it’s obviously why anyone would want to be healthy. Many snacks today, including biscuits, are high in caloric values and packed with tons of sugar, fats and what-not… such unhealthy snacks cause obesity, diabetes and many other negative side-effects.

Not only that, but they’re also not nutritional. More-often-than-not, we’re left feeling drained out of energy when we consume large amounts of aforementioned snacks. Nobody wants to feel tired all the time, especially when someone has a full-time job or goes to college.

And not only that… we also have to take allergens into consideration. Most of us are allergic to something these days. Gluten, preservatives, food colouring… many are concerned with what they’re actually consuming. That’s why “free-from” products (which we’ve written an article on) are steadily becoming more popular.

The next time you go grocery shopping, keep an eye out for these “free-from” products. You’ll soon notice that they’re everywhere. Gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free… the latter free-from products are also connected with another trend that we’ll soon mention.

But, of course… we’re all human beings, and not everyone can keep a perfect healthy diet. Sometimes, we just want to eat something sweet and tasty, without worrying if it’s nutritional or not. That is why, as we’ve said before, it’s good to have choices! Many brands these days offer both their standard and healthy options, although they try to perfect their “non-healthy” options to be more nutritional as well.

As you can see, millennials like to know what they’re eating… this is where packages also come into play. We’ve already said that biscuit packaging is simple, with saturated colours and the most important information put on the front. This is so that the millennials and other generations who are on certain diets can know that the product is safe for their consumption. But the part about “certain diets” bring us to our next major and final trend that influences millennial mindset.

The biscuit industry trends: Veganism and environmentalism?

That’s right, veganism. The vegan trend is rising in popularity, and companies across the world are looking to cash-in on this fact. But why has veganism become so popular all of a sudden?

Well, if you’ve been watching the news recently then you’ve probably heard of the environmental issues that we’re facing. Deforestation, climate change, pollution, there are many problems on the global front.

Vegans believe this is due to the rampant expansion of the meat industry. To meet their annual goals, companies that produce meat are increasing the size of their livestock. In order to feed this ever-increasing livestock, they have to have access to new farmlands. That is why forests, such as the Amazon, are being deforested, to make way for new farms.

That is why NGO’s and environmentalists are advocating a change to the vegan lifestyle. Vegans do not consume or use any animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy and animal skins. They believe that by eliminating the demand for meat, the meat industry will have to lower its amount of livestock, if they don’t wish to lose profit.

By doing so, less farmland is needed, and forests are left alone. Hence why so many millennials are turning to veganism. Not only that, but since more and more people are becoming aware of environmental issues and they wish to help in any way the can, they’re more likely to support companies which put effort into conserving nature.

There are many biscuit companies which have vegan biscuits. Some are accidental, like Oreo for example, while others are purposefully made vegan. Take a minute to browse online, and you’ll see that more and more restaurants and food chains are incorporating vegan options.

Who knows, maybe vegans will be the majority consumer base in the future, and the food industry will have to adapt to their needs. Many millennials are also turning their attention to organic products. Some can’t part from dairy, especially cheese, hence their willingness to spend more money on organic food.

But what makes organic food different from conventional food? It’s more ethical, as the animals these ingredients are harvested from are not harmed in any way, and they have good living conditions.

Macarons with Coffee

Macarons with Coffee

The biscuit industry trends: A concluding word

We’ve reached the end of our article. We hope you like the article and that you’ve learned something new about the trends influencing the biscuit industry.

Millennials are not to be underestimated. By the latest projections from Bloomberg, millennials are set to save the economy. Although they already make up the majority of the workforce, forty-eight percent of it to be exact, this number is only going to increase down the line.

And who knows who will make the majority of the consumer base in the future? Obviously it will be the younger generations, but who knows what kind of lifestyles they’ll lead and how this will affect the industry. Only time will tell, and until then, cheers!

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