Millennials – Are they really that different from other generations?
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For the beef checkoff, there are two important goals in the Beef Industry Long Range Plan around which key elements of the program are built - building beef demand and protecting beef’s image. To accomplish these goals, beef checkoff programs have focused on consumers’ ages, household status, and their interest in both food and nutrition.
Recently, given consumers’ ever changing relationship with beef, producers who oversee the program decided it was time to take a fresh look at their target audience to make sure the checkoff seizes every opportunity to positively impact beef demand. While the previous target food- and health-involved consumers would remain on their radar, consumer research led these producers to look more closely on a group of 25-34-year-olds, part of the so-called millennial generation, to fall into the food and health category.
Target Audience Research Approach
The checkoff conducted a study in late 2013 using both qualitative and quantitative methods to better understand the target audience overall. This research included focus groups among ‘mature millennials’ (ages 25-34 years) to learn more about what really defines these consumers in a face-face setting, along with a survey of 1,250 from this group through online research to gain a perspective on the millennial generation versus non-millennials.
The purpose of the study was to identify the most promising target segments for beef in terms of their attitudes, values, lifestyles and motivations relative to their perceptions of beef.
So what did the study find? Millennials eat beef a couple times a week, which is not different than non-millennials, and their reasons for choosing beef are also the same; most, regardless of generation, want a great-tasting meal, value and a food they feel confident preparing.
And, both groups of consumers recognize beef nutrients such as protein and iron, however, B vitamins and zinc are nutrients less associated with beef.
While there are many similarities across generations, there are also a number of clear differences. For example, millennials are more likely to be influencers and want to share their beef eating experiences with others. This group of consumers is eager to learn how to cook better and is very engaged with food. Importantly, when millennial are disappointed with a meal outcome they are much less likely to try this meal again, which obviously affects their beef eating experience and how willing they are to try new beef recipes.
Although both millennials and non-millennials say that their parents were influential in teaching them to cook, millennials also said they tend to use websites, social media and cooking shows to learn to cook. The checkoff knows from this and other research that this generation is much more tech-savvy and are more inclined to use technology to seek, find and share information.
Focusing on educating all consumers on the nutritional benefits of beef and not losing sight that taste is still the primary driver for beef consumption will help the beef industry reach the target market of both millennials and non-millennials.
Click here for detailed findings and conclusions from the study.
As a result of this and other research, the checkoff this month launches a new digitally-delivered consumer advertising campaign aimed at not only capturing the attention of millennials, but inviting them to engage in the beef experience. Watch for more information throughout the summer about how the checkoff continues to study and track this millennial audience, and ways the checkoff is reaching this audience with positive messages about beef’s attributes.
For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.