Here’s How Millennial Diversity Impacts the Snack Food Industry

If America wasn’t a melting pot before, it definitely is now. Welcome to the 21st century, where ethnic groups are growing and shrinking and minorities are transforming into majorities. 

While the largest minority group in America has traditionally been African-American, “new minorities,” like Hispanic and Asian, compose 30% of U.S. millennials (ages 18-34).


It’s no secret that millennials are extremely diverse, but it’s important as marketers to factor in diversity when seeing millennials through the consumer lens.

As public policy and research organization Brookings puts it, “Racial diversity will be the most defining and impactful characteristic of the millennial generation.”

Millennial diversity and snacking are intertwined today. In the context of the snack food industry, the unprecedented diversity of millennials is causing important factors such as taste, to evolve. While boomers prefer traditional snack flavors like mint, nut and vanilla, millennials reach for tangy, spicy and “weird” flavors like siracha, ginger and coconut.

Makes sense, right? A millennial who grew up eating traditional Indian or Hispanic food is more likely to reach for something spicy over something sweet. And as minority millennials solidify their place in the consumer market, they cause an impact.2 

The market has even reached a point where simple diverse and savory flavors are no longer enough. Why settle for red pepper when millennials crave chipotle, habanero and chili?

Worried that a savory flavor would resonate negatively with your current audience? Many brands are choosing to meet the demand for unique savory flavors by test driving products in limited releases.

For example, Smoked Gouda Cape Cod potato chips and Cinnamon and Sugar Pringles were only available for a set time period before production ceased. If consumers respond well enough to your limited-edition savory snack and you manage to gain new millennial customers, re-release the flavor as a permanent fixture in your repertoire.3 

Remember, millennials are far from homogenous, and continue to evolve as time goes on. Keep up with millennial habits and food trends in order to see the most success in your market.

And stay tuned. America’s melting pot is nowhere near done changing things up.

Want to learn more about the mysteries of the millennial? Check out our latest eBook on millennial snack marketing tips!

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