Brands are failing to appeal to foodie millennials, according to new study

Brands would be wise to utilise food in their advertising in order to appeal to millennials, with it now more important than fashion and an intrinsic social currency among 18-29 year olds in the UK, according to new research released by creative agency Haygarth in partnership with market research firm Flamingo.

The study of 1,000 millennials found that more than a third (33.7%) think it is more important to be knowledgeable about food (40.4%) than fashion (26.7%).

However, despite being a foodie generation, only 11% of millennials feel that food advertising is aimed at them and are fed up, with 45% stating that ads are primarily aimed at families and 25% that campaigns are overly focused on mothers.

Sophie Daranyi, CEO of Haygarth, says brands that focus too much on family messaging are alienating a generation of young foodies. She believes brands and retailers even outside of the non-food space would be wise to use food prominently in their advertising.

“Millennials make up almost 20% of the population but we felt, when we considered activity in FMCG and grocery retail, they weren’t regarded as a significant target audience by most brands,” she explained.

“Brands need to really engage passionately with this foodie generation, as they are already spending as much as their parents on food every week and as their disposable income grows, the opportunity for brands who successfully recruit them as advocates is immense.”

Brands would also be wise to appeal to foodies via social media, according to the study. It found that young people are most likely to share images of food on social media, with images of food shared, on average, three times a week. In comparison, 70% of their parents have never shared food images.

Millennials look at images of food and drink on social media at least 6 times a day, following 37 food related social media channels – in comparison to an average of 16 celebrity accounts and 18 from fashion brands.

Furtheremore, the study, which will be launched at an event on Wednesday 22 April (contact for details), also found that millennials are 3.5 times more likely than their parents (29% vs. 8.2%) to base purchasing decisions on attractive packaging.