Importance of Convenience Food to Generation Y Students Term Paper

Pages: 11 (2774 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 35  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Agriculture

¶ … Convenience Food to Generation Y Students

Generation Y is the group of individuals who are presently between 10 and 28 years of age. This group is also referred to as the 'Echo Boomers' which comprise 24% of the population. This group represents $625 billion in annual buying power and are a diverse group who leads trends. This group is the largest group demographically since the baby boomers and are "a less homogenous market than previous generations." (NACUFS, 2008) Generation Y are aware and live in the "here and now" and are "the most diverse generation in terms of preferences, culture, and ethnic backgrounds." (NACUFS, 2008) Generation Y is likely to adopt a fad quicker than previous generations and "are twice as likely as the general population to influence the opinions of others in areas of life...." And are "today's trend leaders." (NACUFS, 2008) Generation Y in the United States eat out "an average of 24 times per month." (NACUFS, 2008) in the United States, the average Generation Y individual spends approximately $1,152 a year on restaurant food and are stated to "have a feeling of entitlement, and food is at the top of the scale of what they're entitled to -it's a reward. They are willing to cut back in some areas, but not in food." (NACUFS, 2008)

Nearly two-thirds of college students in Generation Y have jobs that pay and extra spending money. This generation was born into an age of technological advances and it is difficult at best to target advertising to Generation Y because they do not look to the newspaper or even magazines for information concerning shopping and generally rely on their own network of friends, family and associates for information about products. The medium of choice for Generation Y is the Internet. These individuals were, from a very early age, practically harassed by the onslaught of information in the form of advertising and marketing and are much more likely to rely on word-of-mouth rather that specific advertising. This group's channels are blurred because they grew up in that environment and are not brand-conscious. Fast food is fine with this Generation because convenience is a priority in this area for these individuals. This group is one that is happy to customize their food and particularly finds appeal in vegetables, salads, fruits, and convenient times and locations to eat.

The report entitled: "How to Connect with Generation Y" states that universities in the UK are "now turning out 250,000 graduates a year - many times more than they did a decade ago." (NACUFS, 2008) This generation is defined as being so extremely diverse that companies "have to rethink the fundamentals of how they operate in order to recruit and retain Generation Y.." (NACUFS, 2008) Generation Y is one that demands variety and prospective employers and retailer will be well advised to keep this in mind. This report notes."..money alone does not motivate this generation." (NACUFS, 2008)

The primary characteristics of Generation Y is stated by a report published by the University of Liverpool to include the following characteristics:

Techno-savvy

Civic minded

Connected 24-7

Self-confident

Service-minded

Optimistic

Environmental

Educated

Entrepreneurial

Bored by routine

Opinionated

Success-driven

Diverse

Lifestyle-centered

Goal orientated (University of Liverpool, 2008)

Generation Y is stated to rival the boomers "...in terms of size and spending power" and "spend $63 billion each year." (Stamp, 2006) These individuals are "very peer conscious" and understand that "media is there to sell them." (Stamp, 2006)

It is stated in the report on Food Technology in a 2006 state-of-the-industry report that Generation Y "will have the most dramatic impact on the food industry." (Food Technology: State of the Industry Report, 2005) Generation Y adults are stated to be the most "culinary-aware generation in history." (Food Technology: State of the Industry Report, 2005) Restaurants have always been part of the life of Generation Y and they "...purchase food from restaurants almost once a day and eat away from home more than any other segment." (Food Technology: State of the Industry Report, 2005)

This report states that Generation Y individual averaged 24 visits to restaurants a month in year 2005, which compared to only 19 by those in Generation X and 16 by Baby Boomers. This includes upscale takeout food. Those in the 18 to 24 range desire gourmet the most often and those in the 25-34 range are those most likely to desire experimenting with food using various methods of cooking and recipes while both these sub-groups of Generation Y enjoy trying new food. (Food Technology: State of the Industry Report, 2005; paraphrased)

This work seeks to answer the questions of how important convenience foods are to Generation Y and why do Generation Y consumers shop for special products such as convenience foods. Finally, this work intends to examine the affect of Generation Y culture on the shopping and buying behavior of Generation Y it is believed that this work will show that Generation Y value convenience highly in relation to food consumption habits and behavior.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The work entitled: "Market Trends: The Experts Speak Out" relates that "today's 70 million Gen Yers almost rival the size and spending power of the 78 million Boomers and they're taking health more seriously than pervious generations their age." In fact, in 2006 a stated sixty-six percent of Generation Y "shoppers always or usually ate healthy foods, compared to 56% of the same group in 1994; 61% in 2006 always or usually choose foods for healthful reasons, compared to 53% in 1994." (Sloan, 2005)

The reasons behind choose food for health and nutritional purposes for members of Generation Y is stated to be: "...connected to life balance and stress reduction, sustainability, freshness and organics." (Sloan, 2005) a stated thirty-seven percent of Generation Y members are consumers of organic foods approximately once each week. This report described Generation Y members as "ambitious, demanding and eager to make a mark - growing up in times of much uncertainty - and living for today, not waiting for tomorrow." (Sloan, 2005)

This generation is "...harder on themselves than others are..." And are "more likely to suffer from stress and tiredness than their older counterparts and the most likely to report suffering from depression. The following table lists the Proportion of Food Shoppers who have purchased a product based on a specified health-related claim on the package.

Proportion of Shoppers who have purchased a product based on a Specified Health-Related Claim on the Package

Source: Sloan (2005)

The work entitled: "A Generation on the Go" states that there is no typical Generation Y individual when it comes to consumption of food. In fact, key to understanding food consumption habits of Generation Y is knowing:."..convenience" is of primary importance to these individuals. There is no brand loyalty as of yet among Generation Y members who are known to shop for food "in drugstores, at discounters - anywhere that's convenient and cost efficient." (Large, 2005) Generation Y also shops where they perceive it is "youth-friendly, healthful and organic supermarkets like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, which are often found in urban locations." (Large, 2005) When Generation Y members do cook meals "from scratch...they do it more as a hobby rather than getting a meal on the table after a hard day's work." (Large, 2005)

Editor for the magazine Food & Wine, Dana Cowin states that this generation "has a passionate interest in food that she hasn't seen for years. Ten years ago, it was hard to find an editorial assistant who was excited about food." (Large, 2005) Cowin states a belief that "the twentysomethings...have an overall understanding of just how good food can be." (Large, 2005) Time to cook is viewed by Generation Y as a luxury due to the time factor involved in cooking meals at home. This report relates that statement of a computer-software analyst residing in Laurel who is 25 years of age and states that when she does cook at home "...it might be American, Italian, or soul food, but it's always something she can eat for several days in a row. it's all a time thing for me...I prepare my meals based on time." (Large, 2005)

The work entitled: "Exotic Goes Mainstream: Emerging Consumer Trends in the Food & Beverage Industry" relates that Generation Y, just as in the previous two generations "want healthful products" however the reasons are different and Generation Y's reason is for "strength and energy for multitasking." (Guelph Food Technology Centre, 2008) While all three generations "want indulgence [they] seek it differently as Generation Y wants "unique stimulating flavors and textures." (Guelph Food Technology Centre, 2008) Convenience is desired by all three generations but in different forms and Generation Y wasn't "on-the-go ease of use." (Guelph Food Technology Centre, 2008)

While all three generations desire simplicity, Generation Y desires this on the basis of "social responsibility." (Guelph Food Technology Centre, 2008) Generation Y is noted by President and CEO of the Guelph Food Technology Centre in Ontario to involve two… [END OF PREVIEW]

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