Don’t miss out on millennial opportunity

If you’re looking for new markets through the fading eyes of a baby boomer, you could be missing a millennial opportunity.

If you’re looking for new markets through the fading eyes of a baby boomer, you could be missing a millennial opportunity.

This was one of the insights provided by food trend expert Dana McCauley during the Potato Growers of Alberta annual conference in Red Deer on Wednesday. The well-known food writer and television personality described how the millennial generation — those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s — make up a bigger percentage of the population than the much-talked-about baby boomers.

In addition to their own direct buying power, millennials exert considerable influence over the purchasing decisions of others — most notably their aging parents, said McCauley. She added that millennials’ habits and tastes differ from those of their predecessors (generation Xers and baby boomers) and their successors (generation Zers) on the demographic continuum.

For one thing, millennials want to be more than just a consumer, she said. They’re keen to apply their own touch to food — a tendency that prompted McCain Foods Canada to launch a campaign called “Modifry,” which encourages customers to develop and share their own methods for preparing McCain’s Superfries.

“This is classic and perfect marketing to millennials,” said McCauley. “They want to be involved.”

Another company to capitalize on the millennial market is Plum Organics, which has developed an expanding range of baby, infant and children’s foods to meet the preferences of young mothers in this age group. Ingredients include quinoa, pumpkin, spinach and butternut squash.

When it comes to dining out, millennials want a unique experience, said McCauley. This helps explain the growing popularity of alternatives like food trucks and fusion restaurants.

By contrast, members of generation Z are interested in speedy service, while boomers favour places that offer convenience, like easy accessibility.

Commenting on broader food trends, McCauley noted that a growing number of people dine alone. They also snack more, consuming an increasing volume of potato chips and cheese, she said.

“Canadians eat 12.66 kg of cheese each per year. That’s a lot.”

Approximately 60 per cent of people now exclude something from their diet, such as gluten, meat or dairy. And more are scrutinizing the labels on the food they buy.

“People want that information all the time,” said McCauley. “They’re interested in protein, the saturated fats, the sodium.”

A growing number of people are also cooking at home, she said. It’s trend that’s being encouraged by new and interesting food products that make cooking fun and easy. Increased access to fresh, local ingredients at places like farmers markets also helps.

McCauley noted how alternatives to potato chips, such as lentil chips, are popping up on grocery store shelves. She thinks this reflects consumers’ desire to justify their snacking through a perception of healthy eating.

“Really, calorie for calorie, sodium milligram for sodium milligram — there’s not a big difference.”

McCauley prompted a chorus of groans when she related how cricket flour is now being used in various products, including cricket chips.

She cautioned that trends usually fall into one of two categories: pull trends that reflect genuine public interest, and push trends that result from marketing.

In a world where the Internet and social media are causing trends to evolve at a rapid rate, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two, said McCauley.

“It’s super easy for somebody with deep pockets to go out to 150,000 bloggers and have them all take a picture or something and say it’s a big deal.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Tsunami warning for B.C.’s coast is cancelled after Alaska quake

VANCOUVER — A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled… Continue reading

Sewage spill shuts beaches along California’s Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the… Continue reading

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

TORONTO — A Toronto producer who worked on “The Shape of Water”… Continue reading

US, others launch new tool to punish chemical weapons users

PARIS — The United States and 28 other countries are launching a… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month