Gen-Y: mashed, baked, with ramen noodles, spuds OK - The Packer

Gen-Y: mashed, baked, with ramen noodles, spuds OK

03/20/2014 02:43:00 PM
Chris Koger

“It’s not about the calories as much, but nutrition,” said Amanda, who no doubt caused a ripple of concern with the “dehy” and processor members in the audience when she followed that up by saying she shops for fresh potatoes, not frozen or potato flakes. If price is an issue when buying fresh fruits and vegetables, Amanda said she’d cut corners elsewhere when making a meal.

Damaris said her preferences for food have changed in the past year, and that while flavor is still important, nutritional aspects are more important now. But — she confessed to growing up in a “meat and potatoes” family, and she cooks potatoes multiple times a week, particularly as a side dish to meatloaf, fried chicken and other comfort foods.

“We have the right to make healthy food and healthy choices without have to make a ‘food-like’ product. More people are willing to invest in their health now, rather than a 99-cent burger,” said David, who commented repeatedly on the versatility of potatoes, preferring to spice up his meals.

When Thomson asked them to describe a potato if it were a person responses included conservative, quirky, full of potential, and an “awesome” person. If potatoes were a car, according to the panel, they’d be a Suburban, a Lexus, but mostly just reliable, they said.

“We probably have an opportunity to give potatoes a little bit of an image makeover and highlight what all these folks are talking about today, which is more about versatility,” Thomson said.

Other important factors to know when marketing to millennials:

  • “Picture-worthy” recipes are a bonus.
  • Highlight the “closer to the source” of nature aspect.
  • Position your fruit/vegetable as a fun item to include in meals.

A lot of this is just common sense. One thing that caught my eye in the USPB’s research on millennials who fit in the “explorer” category: “Alcohol has a big influence on explorers — and often gets in the way of how they aspire to eat.”

Ah, yes, I remember many Saturdays spent on the couch eating Cheetos all day. Some things don’t change after all.

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