Generation Me - What F&B Manufacturers Need to Know

Generation Me - What F&B Manufacturers Need to Know

As food and beverage manufacturers seek to connect with consumers, they often consider their target consumers in terms of generations (such as Millennials or Boomers) to gain insight. However, with generations spanning up to twenty years, there’s a clear need to look more deeply to find the full story. Learn how the Generation Me approach can be used to understand microgenerations—including what they're looking for and how they’re making their food choices.

Generation Me: A Mega Trend

As Glanbia Nutritionals works to stay on top of the ever-evolving consumer landscape, large scale consumer trends often emerge that have the power to make a sustained, global impact on the market. Glanbia has identified Generation Me as one of these mega trends.

Generation Me is a way to describe the array of differences found within each generation by breaking them down into microgenerations. While microgenerations within a generation may share much in common, they each have their own distinct set of influences that drive preferences and expectations. These differences are essential for manufacturers to understand to ensure their marketing connects with their target consumers.

In fact, Generation Me is so fundamental that it can be used as a lens to more clearly view other mega trends. Since trends ranging from personalization to sustainability to lifestyle branding are embraced in different ways by different microgenerations, taking the Generation Me approach can provide manufacturers with a more nuanced understanding of trends across the board.

Microgenerations: Breaking It Down

Within both the Boomer and Gen X generations, two distinct microgenerations have emerged based on common interests and preferences, while three microgenerations have been identified for Millennials. Gen Z has been broken down into two microgenerations, but there is still much to learn about this young generation.

Microgenerations by Age

 Boomers  Gen X  Millennials  Gen Z
 Leading Boomers: 65-73  Gen XS: 46-54  Pro Millennial: 32-37  Z Tribe: 11-20
 Neo Boomers: 55-64  Gen Xenos: 38-45  Mid Millennial: 26-31  Z Alpha: 0-11
     Nouveau Millennial: 21-25  

Understanding the Needs of Each Microgeneration

Here’s a quick look at the different microgenerations—including what’s most important to them and how food and beverage manufacturers can customize their approach to resonate with each group.

Boomers

Older Boomers, known as Leading Boomers, have healthy aging as a top priority. They are likely to be dealing with age-related conditions and using products that can help them manage these conditions. Heart health, joint health, bone health, and cognitive health are areas of concern for Leading Boomers. Using condition-specific dietary supplements is an important health strategy for this microgeneration.

The younger Neo Boomers, who haven’t yet reached this stage, are more focused on preventive aging strategies to avoid or delay age-related issues. The Neo Boomers’ pro-aging perspective encompasses a positive approach to aging that allows them to feel more in control of the aging process. The pro-aging Neo Boomers are taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle, such as including more nutrient-rich foods in their diet—for example, choosing a protein water over plain water for enhanced functional benefits.

Gen X 

Gen X can be divided into the older, more health-oriented Gen XS and the younger, more convenience-focused Gen Xenos. For Gen XS, this is the time to refocus on their own health since the more hectic days of balancing work and young children are behind them. However, they’re not letting go of all convenience options. Healthier foods that are also convenient are a big win for Gen XS as they seek to take care of themselves and their families.

For Gen Xenos, convenience is an important driver of food purchasing decisions. They are likely to have younger children in the household and be pressed for time as they juggle the demands of work and family. Convenient food solutions like frozen meals and snack foods are especially appealing to Gen Xenos.
 

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Millennials

While the Millennial microgenerations have many similarities, there are subtle, important differences. The Pro Millennial microgeneration is the first of a generation noted for its diversity. Food purchases among this group may be more oriented toward the foods that represent their own ethnicity and culture. 

Mid Millennials, however, have more global leanings. They may be more likely to indulge in a variety of cultural cuisines, rather than being devoted to one. Mid Millennials may also gravitate more toward fusion cuisines, such as tacos topped with sriracha sauce or gochujang ketchup used to dip their French fries.

As the youngest of the Millennial microgenerations, the Nouveau Millennials are the most likely to expect personalization. They grew up with the ability to personalize, particularly in a digital context, and consider it a must-have. For example, Nouveau Millennials are likely to be drawn to restaurant ordering kiosks that allow them to enter in detailed, customized food orders at the touch of a button.

Gen Z

Gen Z Tribe is the Gen Z microgeneration that spans from pre-teens to twenty-year-olds. Members of this group want to make their own choices in food, as well as in other aspects of their lives. At this age, health is not likely to be top of mind. 

For Gen Z Alpha, the microgeneration that encompasses today’s children, food choices are typically made for them by their parents and other adults. The foods they eat regularly are likely to reflect the preferences of their parents, who may be part of the Gen X or Millennial generations.

Generation Me - What F&B Manufacturers Need to Know gen me

Get to Know Your Consumers

The Generation Me approach is a valuable tool for providing a more nuanced understanding of generational preferences. For food and beverage manufacturers, insights into microgenerations can mean the difference between connecting with the target consumer and missing the mark. 

Want to learn more about Generation Me research to guide your marketing approach? Our integrated teams of Product Managers, R&D, Insights, and Marketing collaborate with customers to develop the solutions that help them lead their categories.