Freshness, Novelty, and Quality: Reasons Why Millennials Love Certain Branded Foods

Danielle Ohl

functional-food-buying.jpgWhen someone mentions 'brand loyalty', we each have certain brands that come to mind from which we would never stray. For Millennials (yes, I admit that includes me), those brands are becoming fewer and fewer. This generation actively seeks out the 'next big thing', often using a multitude of different products from different vendors, never really settling on one certain brand that they stick with long-term. That is, however, unless a brand consistently performs in the areas of providing fresh, high-quality, and experiential products that are both exciting and one-of-a-kind.

Prepared Foods recently reported on a new study from Foodmix measuring consumer connection to their favorite food brands. One thousand consumers were surveyed; the sample was representative of the U.S. population by demographics. Almost two-thirds of consumers reported loving their favorite branded food product, signifying an emotional attachment to it that goes beyond simple loyalty. Of 30 different attributes participants could assign to products, 12 stood out as attributes most often associated with foods they 'love'. What creates this intense 'attraction' consumers have to certain branded products?

Functionality is Key

Millennial_eating.jpgOne of the first insights from the study is that 3 of the 12 attributes used to describe branded products consumers love are functional: 'Refreshing', 'freshness', and 'high-quality'. Prepared Foods reports that this finding is consistent with the broad trend in food culture, driven by Millennials, toward fresher, healthier, and higher-quality ingredients.

Convenience is also highly desired by the Millennial demographic, as this busy generation values their time above all. Not often purchasing the product in bulk, these consumers instead choose right-sized flexible food packaging that allows them to try without commitment and can easily be transported and stored. Utilizing the popular stand-up pouch, or Doypack, often combined with resealable and easy-open options, is also a great way to encourage brand loyalty. A product should enhance, not inconvenience, their busy lives.

Sustainable flexible packaging solutions are also on the Millennial 'wish list', as they are keenly aware and informed when it comes to the environmental impact of their purchasing behavior. This applies to the entire supply chain, from farm to table.

Brands Have Personality

A second insight gleaned from the study is that 9 out of the 12 attributes used to describe branded foods consumers love have to do with human personality characteristics. Descriptors like 'fun', 'exciting', and 'creative' were all used to describe beloved consumer-branded food. The Millennial generation is looking for a total food experience, not just nourishment. A brand should tell an interesting story that the consumer can identify with and support, the quirkier the better, it seems.

“Food companies that can imbue their brands with these or other personality aspects, and that can weave them into compelling stories about what their brands stand for, are on their way to creating the strong emotional connections of brand love,” said Bill Sherman, the study’s research director.

professionals-working-in-groups.jpgFoods Should Inspire

The remaining attributes ascribed to loved food brands have to do with actions and feelings. Among them are 'intense' and 'energizing'. Today's consumers desire food experiences that inspire and move them to action, whether it be physical action like exercising or social action like moving for change or progress in certain areas. When a consumer is inspired by a brand, it becomes much more than a name, it becomes a movement.

Packaging Must Perform

When a food processor or manufacturer takes into consideration the above attributes of most-loved food brands, packaging may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But rest assured that it is vitally important. Not only must food packaging attract and tell an engaging story, but it must also perform in the functionality department by protecting and ensuring the food product is as fresh as the day it was created.

food packaging machine cartoner CAM.jpgMillennials desire fresh and high-quality products. That cannot be achieved without quality food packaging machines and materials. When it comes to preserving the freshness of food products, nothing is more important than package seal integrity. One small leak can spell disaster as oxidation sets in, causing spoilage of fresh products and reducing shelf life. Not to mention the PR disaster that stems from recalls of food products contaminated by the outside environment.

Today's consumer also demands product now, and will often lose interest if the product is on back order. Keeping up with surging demand can be difficult, and choosing to automate with food packaging machinery can help address that challenge by making production planning easier and more reliable. Not to mention gains in efficiency, throughput, and yield. 


Wondering if your brand is inspiring a feeling of 'love' among your consumers? Looking to attract and retain the influential Millennial generation with your food packaging? Want to know how automated packaging equipment can transform your food production? Contact the food packaging machine experts at Viking Masek for a free packaging equipment consultation.

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