Bite-Sized Delights and Seltzer Nights: What’s Trending with Millennials in Food & Beverage Retail

The food and beverage retail landscape is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by the preferences and behaviors of younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z. This shift presents a world of new opportunities for ecommerce retailers navigating the industry. 

We’re delving into the latest trends shaping food and beverage retail and exploring a few ways ecommerce retailers can capitalize on them.

Gen Z’s Affinity for Poultry

Gen Z’s tastes have sparked a paradigm shift, challenging conventional norms in food consumption. According to the Wall Street Journal’s recent findings, this generation exhibits a notable preference for poultry over red meat. Youngsters are turning away from classic protein options, like hamburgers and steak, instead opting for chicken sandwiches and tinga burritos.

Food and beverage retailers can tap into Gen Z’s preference for chicken over red meat in several ways to attract and retain this demographic:

  • Diverse Chicken Menu Offerings: Gen Z values variety and unique flavors. Retailers can offer a diverse range of chicken dishes that cater to different tastes and preferences. This could include options like grilled chicken sandwiches, spicy chicken tenders, chicken wraps with global flavors (e.g., Korean BBQ, Mexican fajita), and plant-based chicken alternatives for those who lean towards vegetarian or flexitarian choices. Ensure that your menu is both flavorful and Instagram-worthy to appeal to Gen Z’s desire for aesthetically pleasing food.
  • Health and Sustainability Messaging: Gen Z is known for its emphasis on health and sustainability. Retailers can leverage this by promoting the health benefits of chicken, such as being a lean source of protein. Additionally, highlighting sustainable sourcing practices and ethical treatment of animals in your chicken supply chain will resonate with Gen Z’s values. Consider terms like “organic,” “free-range,” or “locally sourced” to signal your commitment to these ideals.
  • Customization and Engagement: Gen Z appreciates personalization and engagement. Implement customizable options in your menu, such as build-your-own chicken bowls or sandwiches, where customers can choose their preferred toppings, sauces, and sides. Furthermore, engage with Gen Z through digital platforms and social media. Encourage user-generated content by creating interactive campaigns or challenges, and offer exclusive deals or discounts to those who participate. Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok can be particularly effective for showcasing your chicken offerings and engaging with Gen Z consumers.
Millennial’s Thirst for Artisanal Seltzers

Millennials have set the stage for a craft beverage revolution, and the seltzer market is no exception. Studies report that Millennials are now gravitating towards artisanal seltzers and kombucha over the coveted craft beer. 

To leverage Millennials’ preference for artisanal seltzers and kombucha over craft beer, food and beverage retailers should consider the following two strategies:

  • Curate Unique Artisanal Beverage Selections: Millennials are drawn to unique and diverse flavor profiles. Retailers should consider curating selections of artisanal seltzers and kombuchas that offer a wide range of flavors, including exotic fruits, botanical infusions, and experimental combinations. Be sure to highlight local and small-batch producers who prioritize quality ingredients and craftsmanship. And create tasting flights or sampler packs that allow customers to explore a variety of flavors in a single order. Providing a rotating selection of limited-edition or seasonal releases can also keep Millennial consumers coming back for new and exciting options.
  • Emphasize Health and Wellness Benefits: Millennials tend to prioritize health and wellness, making them more inclined toward beverages that offer perceived health benefits. Promote the nutritional advantages of kombucha and seltzer, such as probiotics, antioxidants, and low sugar content. Create marketing materials and educational content explaining the positive impact these beverages can have on gut health, digestion, and overall well-being. Consider offering low-alcohol or alcohol-free versions of kombucha for those who are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption but still enjoy a flavorful and refreshing drink. Additionally, offer organic and natural options to align with Millennials’ preference for clean and sustainable products
Fusion Cuisine as a Culinary Adventure

Fusion cuisine is taking over the food and beverage industry, with young consumers eagerly embracing blended flavors, ingredients, and cultural influences. Millennials and Gen Z’s interest in fusion cuisine presents ecommerce retailers with an incredible chance to showcase diverse culinary experiences. 

Collaborating with food manufacturers that specialize in fusion offerings can help ecommerce retailers cater to adventurous taste buds, offering a curated selection of fusion snacks, meals, and ingredients.

Sustainability is a Core Value

Sustainability has evolved from a mere trend to a core value, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials. eCommerce executives must recognize this shift and align their strategies accordingly. Prioritizing sustainable sourcing, packaging, and distribution resonates strongly with eco-conscious consumers, fostering brand loyalty and attracting a new wave of mindful shoppers.

The Snack Revolution

The traditional three-meals-a-day concept is undergoing a transformation as young consumers opt for grazing and snacking throughout the day. More and more, Millennials and Gen Z are selecting quick, on-the-go snacks rather than long, drawn-out meals. Industry retailers can cater to this preference by offering a wide variety of convenient, portion-sized options conscientious of dietary preferences.

The food and beverage retail landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, largely driven by the evolving tastes and preferences of Gen Z and Millennials. Retailers able to adapt to these trends are poised to unlock substantial growth opportunities. By embracing new industry shifts, retailers can pave the way for continued success in an ever-evolving field.

Catch up on the latest Millennial retail trends with Sophelle’s monthly Millennial Report