Young business man

Food and drink companies are alienating the ‘millennial generation’ with family-focused communications and ads, new research has found.

A poll of 1,000 18 to 29-year-olds and 250 parents discovered only 11% of millennials felt food ads were aimed at them.

Yet young people were found to share images of their food on social media three times a week, and almost half (47%) cited this technology as a major source of cooking inspiration, the joint survey carried out by creative agency Haygarth and brand insight specialists Flamingo found.

In contrast, over 70% of their parents never used social media to post a food picture and only 15.5% were motivated by these platforms in their cooking.

The findings also revealed millennials enjoy experimenting with food – more than a third (35%) claimed to have tried six or more new recipes or ingredients each month, compared with fewer than 13% of parents.

“Millennials make up almost 20% of the population and yet, when we considered the marketing activity in fmcg and grocery retail, they weren’t regarded as a significant target audience by the majority of brands,” Haygarth CEO Sophie Daranyi said.

“Already spending almost as much as their parents each week on food, as they progress through their lives and their disposable income grows, the opportunity for brands that successfully recruit them as advocates is immense.”

Although 88% found supermarkets uninspiring, almost 60% of young people visited supermarkets to do a big shop every few days or once a week.

A further 74% said they were interested in shopping more at independent butchers, grocers and bakeries.

Martin Oxley, Buzzback MD, said a sense of alienation wasn’t limited to millenials. “I’d love to have data on over 60s who are empty nesters,” he told The Grocer. “I suspect they might feel alienated. When I go to M&S as a family person I feel loved by the offers but when my family are away and it’s just me the question is do I spend more than I need to or buy more than I need?  There are multiple issues going on with household fragmentation and older people living longer. I suspect that middle [family] group is getting smaller and we should be looking more at the peripheral – whether that be millennials, singletons or older people.”