What Millennials Want Most

Women shopping in a grocery store looking at canned goods
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Projected to have the most spending power of any generation, millennials make up approximately 20% of Europe’s population – creating a significant market opportunity for brand managers. Naturally, food manufacturers are eager to capture a competitive share of this demographic, but to do so, they must understand the buying behavior of these spontaneous, but value-driven consumers. 

So what values do millennials hold dear and how can the right product packaging translate into Euros and cents? As a material choice, metal packaging offers manufacturers unique advantages and characteristics that can appeal to the millennial shopper.

Spontaneous Shoppers Seeking Value 

Unlike their parents and grandparents, millennials tend to be last-minute shoppers. They are less likely to have stocked pantries and weekly shopping lists, and more likely to make an impromptu supermarket trip to buy ingredients for a recipe found online. As a generation that has seen economic hard times, they are looking for premium value, which also means that the packaging needs to convey premium quality. 

Metal packaging for food products helps convey superior quality because of its ability to preserve freshness. In fact, no other packaging material can match its barrier properties against light and oxygen. Canned foods have at least the equivalent nutrition as fresh and frozen foods, and they are often more nutritious. In addition, manufacturers can incorporate eye-catching graphics on metal with the help of advanced printing techniques and decorative finishes and create unique container shapes that enhance shelf differentiation. Regardless of the final shape, cans offer a 360-degree billboard for a brand. This gives metal some notable advantages over other packaging materials.

The Greenest Generation

Millennials place high value on sustainability, and compared to baby boomers and Gen-Xers, they are more responsive to issues involving the environment. This holds true not only for products they purchase but also for the lifestyle choices they make. In a study conducted by Nielsen, just more than half (51%) of millennials indicated they would actually pay extra for a sustainable product

Brand managers can leverage metal packaging’s sustainability as a distinct selling point. Metal is 100% recyclable, and it can be recycled infinitely without any degradation to its physical properties. Plus, no other packaging material has a more firmly-entrenched global recycling infrastructure.  

Wired and Ready to Go

Millennials are more tethered to mobile devices than any other demographic, and it is reflective of an agile and on-the-go mindset. Many millennials routinely shop directly from mobile devices, and often use more than one device when shopping, including a phone, tablet or laptop.  

What does this mean for brand owners? Food packaging must accommodate these busy lifestyles, and research confirms that millennials are willing to pay a premium for such convenience. One example is Crown’s PeelSeam™ peelable ends for single-serve and ready-to-eat foods. This format allows consumers to enjoy a fresh food product on-the-go with minimal preparation, and it is well-suited for single-serve bowl cans

In order to capture the lion’s share of the market, food and beverage manufacturers should engage millennials by emphasizing high-value, sustainability and convenience. With innovative graphics and shapes, as well as unmatched sustainability, metal packaging paves a solid road, helping brands achieve their business goals.