Can Foodservice Giants Satisfy Millennial Taste Buds?

The fact that millennial preferences and purchasing habits completely transformed the restaurant industry is nothing new. A quick Google search will ping back thousands of articles on how this generation's buying trends, cravings, and need for healthy, convenient, and socially-conscious food impacts the economy and how bigger brands could potentially respond to this group's growing demands.

And it's no doubt that major consumer packaged goods companies are eager to please millennial consumers, but the more they try to capture and attract this audience, do these shoppers become more distant? Smaller companies are taking a bigger piece of the market share in comparison to these foodservice giants. According to IRi, the top 25 U.S. food companies have lost $18 billion in market share these last five years, while small- and mid-sized companies made up 46 percent of growth in that same time period.

As Food Dive reports, it's not for a lack of trying. We've seen brands such as Campbell, Kellogg, and Nestlé attempt to reformulate their products to include trending ingredients or amp up the health and wellness factor of their offerings to draw in the millennial crowd, but the point of the matter is that there is still a "distrust of big food companies," especially in the face of authentic sourcing and sustainable distribution. So, what are foodservice giants to do?

Well, for one, they can stop trying to lure millennial shoppers with buzzwords. "Fresh," "Organic," and "Natural" aren't be-all and end-all. Large brands need to understand that the millennial generation is not the same all across. They are, as The Hartman Group describes, "complex and full of contradictions — contradictions they are fully aware of and embrace.Read More