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Know your audience: Filter food trend data by generation

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Know your audience: Filter food trend data by generation
Research

Know your audience: Filter food trend data by generation

June 15th, 2021
6 min.
Miriam Aniel

Miriam Aniel

Content & Research, Tastewise

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The Tastewise solutions are able to do what they do because of all the amazing technology under the hood. Join us for a blog series exploring the technology behind our real-time insights, and what it can do for your business.

In this edition of Food Intelligence: Under the Hood, we’re taking a look at generational filters.

The Tastewise food intelligence solution leverages AI specific to food and beverage to determine which users across social media belong to which of today’s primary four generational groups - Baby Boomers (ages 56 - 74), Gen X (41 - 55), millennials (25 - 40), or Gen Z (13 - 24). Our AI uses specific cues from online content to create an “audience”, which we define as a group of individuals, connected by verifiable attributes, whose online presence is captured by our dataset. Each audience shares certain qualities that differentiate them from all other consumer subsets.

How do we create audiences?

  1. We identify a small subset of users that define themselves as part of an audience on social media.
  2. We study their behavior using AI, and extrapolate their characteristics to identify others that belong to the same audience.
  3. We group these individuals together as an ‘audience’, and cluster the data drawn from their activity.

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What can you do with the generational filter?

Understanding consumer behavior through a generational lens is important for food and beverage brands focused on developing new products, creating specialized marketing campaigns, or amping up their sales enablement. It’s valuable to have a specific grasp on how audiences of different age groups behave - and why they make the choices that they do - in order to create products and campaigns that speak directly to their needs.

Example questions one can explore by using the generational filters (alone, or in combination with our other filters):

  • What kind of snacks do Gen Z consumers eat?
  • What kind of cocktails do millennials drink in San Francisco?
  • What are Gen Xers making at home for dinner in Los Angeles?
  • What kind of claims are most important to baby boomers - and how can you adjust your product packaging to meet their needs?
  • Which product in your portfolio would be most relevant in a sales pitch to a foodservice chain catering to Gen Z?

If we filter by generational audience in the Tastewise food intelligence platform, we can learn:

What kind of snacks do Gen Z consumers eat?

Interest in snacks is actually significantly decreasing among Gen Z audiences (-59% YoY); this might be a signal to explore a different product category. However, if committed to the snack category, it’s good to know that Gen Z gravitates towards snacks that are sweet (11% of snack occasions, 4x the interest in sweet for snacks than averaged audiences) and tasty (14%, 3x the average). 8% of the snacks Gen Z do eat are eaten for breakfast, and 11% are eaten with friends. If I am, for example, a marketer interested in creating a campaign for Gen Z about my snack product, I’d likely want to focus more on the experience that my snack offers than the dietary nature of my product - most dietary claims among Gen Z snack eaters are declining YoY.

The bottom line: Use generational filters to determine what claim or concept to highlight in your product marketing.

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What kind of cocktails do millennials drink in San Francisco?

Millennial interest in cocktails is up 16% YoY in San Francisco. 5.5% of cocktail drinking occasions center on fresh ingredients, making it one of the top claims for the audience. Alcohol-free cocktails saw a huge spike in interest in January 2020, a trend worth specifically tracking in San Francisco around the New Year as many millennials appear to partake in sober January; New York millennials, for example, saw a much less significant spike in interest in alcohol-free cocktails last January.

Top growing motivations for San Francisco millennial’s cocktail drinking revolve around sensory and experiential motivations: 19% of cocktails are described as tasty (up +15% YoY in interest), while attractive and gourmet cocktails have both grown a significant ~85% in interest over the past year. This paints for us a picture that San Fran millennials are looking for indulgent, beautiful, high quality cocktails that taste great - follow this route for cocktail innovation targeted to this group.

The bottom line: Use generational filters to identify what most excites your audience, then create innovative products or content marketing that speak to those needs.

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What are Gen X'ers making at home for dinner in Los Angeles?

The most popular cuisine for dinner for Gen X’ers eating out in Los Angeles is Japanese, accounting for nearly 8% of dinner occasions. When cooking at home, that preference changes to Mexican, accounting for 6% of dining occasions. The most popular ingredient in Mexican dishes? Chicken!

The bottom line: Use generational filters to understand what your audience is eating at a specific time of day, and be there when they sit down at the table.

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What kind of claims are most important to Baby Boomers - and how can you adjust your product packaging to meet their needs?

Interestingly, Baby Boomers are less likely to speak about the motivations behind their eating and drinking on social media - a behavior that perhaps makes sense given their age. The motivations that they do discuss are more “salt of the earth”; baby boomers are most interested in dinner and in American food. Interest in the attractive quality of food is growing 56% YoY among the audience, and interest in traditional dishes sees a boost around the holidays - all of which is worth tracking throughout the year when considering marketing campaigns targeted to Baby Boomers.

The bottom line: Use generational filters to understand what drives your audience year round, and tailor your marketing campaigns to speak in language they want to hear.

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Which product in your portfolio would be most relevant in a sales pitch to a foodservice chain catering to Gen Z consumers?

For the sake of this example, let’s say that the potential foodservice chain partner is Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen, a salad chain popular among younger demographics for its focus on healthy and gourmet eating on the go, is changing its marketing focus to reach Gen Z consumers (read more about their strategic goals in the WSJ, here). If you are selling salad dressings, you can understand through Tastewise AI that Gen Z consumers gravitate towards oil-based dressings and vinaigrettes when eating out at restaurants (30% of the audience’s restaurant dining occasions involving salad dressings center on vinaigrette). Citrus is the fastest rising ingredient in Gen Z salads, indicating that an innovative, citrus-based vinaigrette could be a great product to pitch.

The bottom line: Use generational filters to amp up your next sales pitch with the data that is exactly relevant to your prospects' needs.

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