These 75 million young consumers, between 13 and 28, grew up with habits and expectations about food formed during decades of unprecedented tech innovation, consumer choice, and exposure to global cuisines. Consequently, this consumer group will be demanding updated food and beverage choices. Food marketers without a laser focus on this demographic, the report warns, will need to play catch-up. Fast.
"Generation Y has a game-changing approach to food consumption that will definitely affect how other demographics, including Gen Xs and Baby Boomers, shop and eat," says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD.
The trend map, titled "How Gen Y Eats," provides a 360-degree portrait of Generation Y's eating habits. They use cell phones to order organic veggie take-out, download recipes on mobile devices, and forge food subcultures online.
Gen Ys crave heightened eating experiences such as intense, layered, and global flavors. They need to customize food, tweaking it to be as individual as they are. And don't underestimate how health-savvy they are, thanks to nutrition-minded Boomer parents.
How will this affect what the rest of us eat? Foods developed for Gen Y will also find a market with Boomers and Gen Xs, whose adventurous tastes, wired lifestyles, and desires for customization are evolving along with Gen Y's.