It’s a question brand owners, marketers and manufacturers continue to ask: How can we reach young consumers?
As the Baby Boomers and Generation X mature, and Millennials and Generation Z expand their roles in the workforce and start families of their own, it’s important to focus on their needs and priorities. They have to be met where they are.
One way to do that is by appealing to their adventurous side, Innova Market Insights reports.
The market research firm noted in a press release that consumers are taking on an increasingly global mindset, thanks to international travel and social media, which allows consumers to tour the world without leaving their couches.
This global curiosity applies to food. Launches of ethnically-inspired food and beverage products have grown 65 percent between 2014 and 2018, with Far Eastern and Mediterranean flavors among the most popular. Additionally, 30 percent of consumers “love to discover flavors of other cultures,” according to Innova’s 2018 consumer insights survey.
Not surprisingly, the youngest consumers are the most likely to look for bold and unconventional culinary experiences, especially if those experiences are suitable for sharing on Instagram.
“Millennials and Gen Z in particular drive the trend of novel, creative, impactful foods with funky colors, shapes and flavors that are exciting to share through social media,” Innova wrote.
As a card-carrying Millennial, I can attest to this. For me, and others in my generation, half the fun of traveling is posting about the trip on social media. Though it may seem like bragging about being in cool place, documenting it through Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook allows your followers to experience the location along with you.
And while they can’t taste or smell it, seeing food from interesting places can serve as a window into the culture. Social media followers might end up seeking out those flavors on their own.
“People now travel the world and are connected online more than ever, getting increasingly familiar with other food cultures, flavors and experiences,” Innova wrote. “To drive deeper connections with the adventurous consumer, brands satisfy their curiosity not only through exotic world flavors, but also new food experiences and telling the story behind the product.”
Innova also reported that consumers are motivated by interactive opportunities, whether it’s voting for favorite flavors or submitting their own flavor ideas. 
Earlier this year, Mars Wrigley Confectionery launched its third M&M'S Flavor Vote campaign in the U.S. and Canada featuring international flavors, and last spring, Morinaga America asked HI-CHEW fans to pick which Japanese flavor they wanted to add to the American lineup. They selected Dragon Fruit, which you’ll see in new assortments.
As consumers open themselves up to global experiences, it will create more outlets for brand owners and manufacturers. And anything that promotes connectivity and becoming more informed about the world us while also bolstering the food industry is a win-win.
Bon voyage, and bon appetit!