How to Drink Like a Millennial

Nutrition, innovation and naturalness rule – but don't forget price.

Millennials are avid beverage consumers. These consumers drink a much wider range of beverages than any other consumer group, are willing to pay for added nutritional value or health benefits, and are early adopters of new products and flavors.

“Millennials are interested in exploration through the bottle,” notes Christina Bowden, director of consulting services at The Hartman Group, in Bellevue, Wash. “That can mean a ready-to-drink Southern-style organic coffee with chicory or golden milk, flavored with turmeric that has anti-inflammatory benefits.” Exotic fruits and unique flavor combinations — cucumber mint or coconut kiwi — appeal to them, especially if the products offer added health benefits.

Research completed by Digsite, a Madison, Wis.-based social media market research paltform, shows that while Millennials aren’t totally opposed to sweetened beverages, they’re conscious of high levels of sugars in drinks and are careful about what they’re choosing. “They don’t like artificial sweeteners,” observes Monika Wingate, co-founder and CEO of Digsite. “They will drink carbonated beverages, but they want them to be flavored with natural ingredients so they don’t feel so bad about it.”

Millennials are inherently wary, read labels and look for a short ingredient panel. “Consumers want five or six ingredients, and they are interested in the narrative behind a product,” says Hartman’s Bowden. “They like to know where ingredients came from.”

Natural products are more important than organic, and simple, straightforward messaging connects with this generation. They also react to unique packaging that sets a product apart from similar offerings on the market.

“Millennials want their beverages to do more for them,” says Bowden. “They want beverages to give them more energy for their busy, active lives, but those products have to align with their health-and-wellness goals.”

– Article by Barbara Sax, Progressive Grocer

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