Each generation brings slight changes to the way we approach food and preparation, and that’s no different from what we see with Millennials. We know already that this generation is consuming fresh foods at higher rates than previous generations did at the same life stage. The food items Millennial families keep on hand, as well as the tools they have in their kitchens, reflect this shift toward freshness. And within the Millennial generation there are different consumer types based on their desired involvement with their food preparation – meaning a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t what they seek.
With more fresh foods being consumed in their homes, Millennials seek devices that help them save time preparing the food and raise the quality of their cooking. A fairly new entrant to the consumer market, sous vide machines help consumers precisely cook meats, eggs, and other items more consistently to produce the desired level of doneness. While still a smaller penetration item, Millennial families are 30 percent more likely to have them in their kitchens, shown by data from our 2017 Kitchen Audit service. It seems these families also seek higher-quality outcomes when it comes to the morning cup of coffee. Specialty brewed coffee appliances, such as cold brew, nitro, and pour-over, are nearly twice as likely to be found in Millennial family homes as they are to be found in homes of non-Millennial families.
While this generation represents a departure from previous generations in its desire for fresh, home-cooked meals, these consumers are like everyone else in that their desire to be involved with their foods can vary. Among all meal preparers, just under 60 percent say they are very good or accomplished home cooks, and they say the results of their cooking are either consistently good or excellent. Millennials are on the hunt for good food; they keep their skills sharp, as evidenced by their recipe usage. They typically use recipe sources once a week and are likely to use a variety of sources for those recipes. Even their magazine subscriptions reflect their interest in food. They more likely to read publications such as Cooks Illustrated, Bon Appetit, Eating Well, and Martha Stewart Living, all of which provide fodder for the inspirational cook.
On the flip side, two in five home cooks say they are typically unsatisfied with the results of their cooking and use recipes far less often. Their focus tends to be on other rooms of the home; their magazine subscriptions are more likely to be US Weekly, Parents, and House & Garden, to name a few.
Marketers should take note that while fresh foods are important to Millennials and other consumers alike, there is room in the portfolio for products that allow for varying levels of consumer interaction. And when designing products to be used with appliances and gadgets consumers are bringing into their homes, it’s important to keep in mind that not all consumers will be as savvy when it comes to using them.