While COVID may have stifled sales in many bakeries across the UK throughout this year, there are plenty of opportunities to glean from studies that divulge the purchasing habits of millennials. In this insight, we’ve got some tips and advice on better serving these trend drivers. 

In 2019, an ABA report in partnership with The Center for Generational Kinetics shined a light on the habits of millennial shoppers when it came to purchasing their bakes. Once no fewer than 18,000 millennials were surveyed, it was gleaned that they are to be the “trend drivers of the baked good category.”

As the spending and influence of this generation continue to increase, if your bakery doesn’t begin to make (or trial) adjustments better suited to their preferences, you could stand to lose out. Because, in short, their spending habits differ substantially from their Boomer counterparts. 

78% of millennials eat carbs in their regular diet

For 73% of the millennial generation, bread is a weekly purchase and almost as much (63%), purchase a sweet baked good every week. And, while on the surface these figures look great for bakers, millennials are buying and eating fewer baked goods than in years previous.

According to the research, there are a few reasons why millennials purchased fewer baked goods in 2019.

Concerns around waste 

Using bread as an example, if a millennial were forced to throw a loaf away, it would deter them from a further purchase. It could also push them towards purchasing in smaller quantities, which brings us onto our next point. 

Portion sizes 

Another factor which deterred this generation from purchasing baked goods is portion sizes. It ties in with the point around waste, but it also holds health connotations. With more and more purchase decisions being made with health in mind, options that offer extra nutrition such as protein are seeing more popularity. 

There are concerns around taste

The report also points to the fact that one-third of millennials would be happier to make a purchase should they be allowed to try the product first. If you’re experimenting with a new flavour or design, having the option to taste (from a securely wrapped sample) available to customers could be a winner. 

Then there are the ethical and health concerns

While we touched on health concerns during portion control, there are certain features that millennials look for especially. Bakes promoting their use of grains, their “freshness” or use of other natural ingredients can see them stand out from the pack. Bread with notable nutritional and health signals will attract attention and repeat purchase if these are backed up with memorable taste and keeping qualities.

Millennials are buying with their values. If a brand or a product falls short of those values, it’s a no-go. Having a level of brand presence, perhaps on social media or otherwise, is setting some bakeries apart from others right now.

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Veganism

Exponential growth in Veganism has been driven by lifestyle and environmental factors. According to the Vegan Society, vegans and vegetarians are set to make up nearly 25% of the British population by 2025. With Brits increasingly welcoming vegan cues in various parts of their lives, this trend is here to stay and one which manifests strongly across the UK food industry.

Snacking

A number of the themes mentioned are emerging into the snacking category. Conscious choices are being made around taste experience, wellbeing, value and values by millennials and the wider consumer.

94%

ate snacks in 2 weeks to March 2020

75%

prioritise taste

48%

avoid products made with palm oil (53% of under-35s)

56%

of healthy snackers deem taste as a priority

11%

of snack launches in 2019 had high/added fibre claims

Freshness, variety, exotic flavours and convenience are important

Further studies show how millennial buyers are more impulsive & spontaneous than Boomers, and even more so than Gen Z. These credentials are seeing them shopping in more places than any other consumer, owing their loyalty to brands aplenty, and being happy to go with whatever fulfils their need at that moment. 

Bakers could push new products in a variety of ways to attract attention. Perhaps having a fresh bake only available for a limited time each day or experimenting with new flavours and including buyers in that journey. The possibilities are endless and exciting! Even a bake as simple as a brownie can offer something different

Don’t downplay the experience

Frequenting a place to meet friends, eat and drink are regular habits for millennial buyers. 

Including a sit-in experience is something bakers could think more seriously about. Offering your consumers an experience alongside their purchase could set you aside. Craft bakeries are better positioned to make this happen and there’s no reason why, with consideration for ensuring displays are securely covered, bakers can’t offer an unforgettable customer experience.

A generation that cares about value, but is lead by their values

If they have to pay more for a baked item that aligns with their ethics and values, millennials are going to pay the extra. But if they can find things that present both value (cited as a Bakels key trend emerging from the pandemic), and align with their values, it’s a match made in heaven. 

Transparency and authenticity matter – no matter the size of your brand. And this might just be why more and more bakeries are taking to social media like Instagram and Pinterest to connect on a deeper level with their customers. 

We’re ready to help you bake for millennials

Whether you want to add a new flavour variety to your brownies or experiment with your nutritious bread range, we offer a range of ingredients that will help you create that spark to keep customers coming back. We’ve been inspiring and supporting bakers in expanding their product offering since 1904. If there’s something specific you’re looking for, then get in contact with us