Gen Y craves food involvement and bold flavours

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 16th January 2009

Gen Y, the largest demographic group in history, is passionate about big flavours that pack a punch, according to new research.

They are drawn to bold and complex flavours that turn mealtime into a culinary trip around the world. According to a recent study by the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) exploring Gen Y’s attitudes and eating behaviors, more than 50 per cent eat global foods and 46 per cent like to layer flavours and customise recipes. For the well-cultivated palates of this influential group, food is an adventure where unusual ingredients combine to create exotic taste sensations with each bite.

Layers of Flavours
“Capturing the interest and imagination of Gen Y requires food service leaders and consumer packaged goods manufacturers to craft a heightened eating experience by using layers of flavours, unique textures or emerging global ingredients,” according to Kimberly Egan, CEO/Principal of CCD.

Woman Supermarket Shopping

Gen Ys, also commonly referred to as Millennials, also look for ways to use varied ingredients to give old favorites a mouth-watering lift. CCD’s study participants report that they, “…like twists on normal things…you’re expecting something familiar but sort of exciting.” Another Gen Y added, “It’s a dish you know you like, but it’s done in a way you wouldn’t do at home.”

Finding these bold flavours is part of the fun for this demographic group. Thirty-nine per cent of those surveyed said they enjoy shopping for unique foods and ingredients and 35 per cent consider themselves connoisseurs of gourmet foods. Nearly one-third (29 per cent) are on the hunt for foods that are trendy or different in their quest for powerful, delicious and remarkable dining experiences.

Customisation is Key
“We learned that Gen Ys are not only ‘Flavour Cravers,’ but they also want to customise what they eat to make it uniquely their own,” said Kara Nielsen, CCD’s trendologist. “They get a thrill from the rush of flavour combined just they way they want it.”

According to the CCD Gen Y research, 44 per cent add personal touches to the food they prepare by including unique toppings, add-ons and mix-ins, making Do-it-Yourself stations/dishes a huge favourite among this group.

For some, customisation is all about satisfying cravings. For others, it gives a defining sense of self. Study participants say that customisation lets them “…get involved in the food. It lets you have the choice of what you want to use. It’s all about you.”