In late 2011 a checkoff-funded study was conducted to broaden the beef industry’s knowledge of Millennials and their relationship with beef. It was discovered that Millennials are seeking information about the “right amount” of beef to eat and the best way to prepare it.
This study was designed to help the beef industry better understand how to communicate with this key consumer audience about cooking with beef, shopping for beef, and general beef knowledge. This study was designed to meet Millennials where they are found most often – using social media. For this study there was a panel of Millennials who shared their experiences with beef through videos and diaries, as well as a quantitative survey of 2,000 Millennials conducted to provide statistics to give us representative data of all Millennials.
Young Americans today put a large amount of focus on their experiences. The Millennial generation is looking for experiences, and when it comes to food experiences, many want beef to be a part of that. However, many do not feel confident enough with beef to have these experiences at home. Millennials believe that food can be an adventure and an avenue to diverse social and cultural experiences. Beef is seen as manly, sociable and muscle building, but on the other hand it is also seen as expensive, fattening and challenging to cook. For these reasons the beef industry needs to be able to communicate to Millennials beef’s positive aspects.
The first aspect that needs to be addressed is cooking with beef. Although more than 50 percent of Millennials are interested in trying out new foods, this generation is far less adept than older generations when it comes to cooking beef. Some of the problems that have been found with cooking beef are that Millennials find it difficult to get the flavor just right for burgers as well as having tenderness challenges with cooking steak. This may be because of the lack of knowledge about the different cuts of beef. Data shows that Millennials are also more interested in ethnic foods than those of previous generations.
The next aspect for Millennials to understand is how to shop for beef. Over half of Millennials have shopped for beef at a ‘traditional grocer,’ however they are now trying to diversify their shopping locations. Other locations include farmer’s markets, online services and specialty butcher shops. Even though Millennials are trying to diversify where they purchase their beef, they are still purchasing the same cuts of meat that they are used to. Roasts, medallions and shank cross cut are examples of beef cuts that Millennials are significantly less aware of compared to other generations. It is found that they do want to splurge on more expensive cuts, but if it doesn’t turn out it is a waste of money and considered risky.
Since there is a lacking knowledge of beef cuts, it is not surprising that Millennials seek information about how to cook different cuts of beef. This generation also has interest in other aspects of the beef industry, such as animal welfare and humane treatment of animals. Millennials recognize both sides of the story and know that diversity of perspective is important. They are in search of information and not afraid of vocalizing their opinions.
The 2011 Millennials and Beef Study affirms that this generation enjoys the taste of beef and recognizes the benefits that beef can provide, such as increased protein and energy. With this being said, beef also poses challenges to this generation when it comes to cooking and selecting beef cuts. In order to keep beef an important part of their lives, the beef industry is going to do what is necessary to keep the lines of communication open between the industry and consumers.