09 September 2016
By David Rosenthal, vice president, business leader, gyro, and Pamela McWhorter, editor, content marketing, gyro
For well over a decade, millennials have been making their purchasing presence known. They represent the largest number of food buyers in history. As kids, they grew up on Lunchables®. As young adults, they graduated to craft beer. Now, as the oldest among them are reaching their mid-thirties, millennials are fully entering the age of parenthood – and they’re embracing the changing food priorities that come with it.

So what happens when 22 million U.S. millennial parents bring their “Mini-Me’s” to the grocery? GenerationWhy, a recent custom study commissioned by the Corn Refiners Association, offers new insights for food and beverage manufacturers that want to tap into millennial mom-and-dad buying power.
 
With quantitative survey respondents provided by Ipsos, and qualitative participants provided by BuzzFeed, GenerationWhy is an unprecedented segmentation study of U.S. millennials on their attitudes toward food products and ingredients, as well as how they use social media in regard to food. The research shows that while millennials may represent one generation, they hold widely divergent attitudes and tastes toward food.
 
Meet the four types of millennial moms and dads.
GenerationWhy identifies four distinct millennial consumer segments, each with their own distinct food attitudes and social media behavior – which holds true even when they become parents. The four segments are explained below:


Hello, layette. Goodbye, latte?
As with any of us, parenthood marks a monumental life change for millennials. Bringing up baby often means there’s less free time, less money for life’s extras and a whole lot more responsibilities.
 
So it’s not surprising that millennial parents are more likely to:


However, in comparison to their childless counterparts, millennial parents are also more likely to consider themselves to be adventurous eaters and among the first of their friends to try new food. (Perhaps they consider pureed bananas a new food?) 

New Foods Are Yummy!
Among millennials, it’s the parents who are the more adventuresome eaters.


What’s more, some millennial parents seem to have a greater taste for food adventure and exploration than others. Compared to the other millennial segments, Balance-Seeker Brad is more likely to buy indulgent items for his children and allow them to influence him into buying items that may not be the most nutritious. Yet, Brad’s segment is also the most likely to turn a trip to the grocery into a teachable moment about nutrition.
 
Future-proofing with food purchases.
With a child’s arrival, a grocery trip can take on new meaning. For millennial parents, they’re not only thinking about what’s for dinner tomorrow. They’re also concerned about their child’s tomorrow – the world their children will inherit as adults someday. This concern shows up in the fact that millennial parents are more likely to say it’s important to buy products from a company that’s socially conscious and uses environmentally friendly packaging. Overall, the difference between parents and non-parents is pretty small. However, for Brad, the most influential and socially engaged segment, these two factors carry considerable weight among parents: 77.1 percent say purchasing a product from a socially conscious company is critically/very important, and 71.5 percent say purchasing a product that uses environmentally friendly packaging is critically/very important.  
 
So what’s in store for your baby?
Just like a proud parent, food and beverage manufacturers naturally want to see their products flourish. As more and more millennials become parents – 9,000 babies born are to them every day in the United States – their market potential will only continue to grow. To make the most of it, keep in mind that these new moms and dads will bring their varying tastes and attitudes with them into parenthood – and at the checkout. For many millennials, that could mean finding the best deal. For others, that could be indulging in great taste with products that help promote the greater good. Yet, whether they’re Traditionalists, Bon Vivants, Food Purists or Balance-Seekers, millennial parents share a common trait with each other and parents of generations past: They simply want what’s best for their family.
 
About gyro
As a global ideas shop, our mission is to create ideas that are humanly relevant. gyro is Advertising Age’s 2016 B-to-B Agency of the Year and the BMA’s 2016, 2015 and 2014 Global B-to-B Agency of the Year. Our 600 creative minds in 14 offices work with top companies, including Aflac, Danone, eBay, Google, HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Jabra, John Deere, Tate & Lyle, TD Ameritrade, Teva, USG and Vodafone. www.gyro.com
 
About GenerationWhy
GenerationWhy is a custom study commissioned by the Corn Refiners Association. Respondents for the quantitative survey phase of the study were provided by Ipsos. Millennial participants in the qualitative phase were sourced through BuzzFeed.

Quantitative Survey 1 Base: Total Millennials  (n=1,001). Quantitative Survey 2 Base: Total Millennials  (n=504).
 
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