The “Millennials are killing [insert industry, product, service, or convention here]!” trope is cliché to the point that it’s now become a self-referential joke about the commonness, and often absurdity, of the accusation. That it’s become a canard taken increasingly less seriously makes sense. The seemingly accusatory implication that a generation, collectively, showing less interest in something, financially or otherwise, is a failure or betrayal on the part of that generation is part of the issue.

The reality is every generation, ever, has seen the rise and fall of countless products, conventions, and trends. More importantly, if millennials are “killing” something by not spending their money on it, it’s a virtual certainty that they’re spending that money on something else. For the retail industry, which certainly includes grocery retail and the CPG marketing agencies supplying them, this should present an opportunity. For instance, the fact that millennials are celebrating the holidays in a unique and nontraditional way should be embraced by the grocery industry. At least, that’s more productive and profitable than lamentations that millennials are killing Thanksgiving with the less formal “Friendsgiving.”

The Evolving Millennial Holiday Experience

This evolution of the millennial holiday experience comes with some good news. It turns out that most of the ways that the millennial generation has been modifying the traditional Thanksgiving dynamic should prove more profitable than the Thanksgiving of yesteryear for grocery retailers positioned to take advantage of it. For example, one of the most conspicuous features of the millennial Thanksgiving is the addition of a generally less formal Friendsgiving meal.

It’s just what it sounds like, an often pre-Thanksgiving dinner and get together with close friends that’s usually held in the days leading up to the actual holiday feast. Around a quarter of millennials now cite attendance at a Friendsgiving event, that proportion being greater the younger the millennials are. And it’s a tradition that only seems to be gaining popularity. In addition to a designated Friendsgiving, the younger generation is also more likely to invite friends to their actual Thanksgiving dinners. It’s no longer strictly a family affair.

The Food and the Opportunity

As if Friendsgiving wasn’t controversial enough for the Thanksgiving purists, that most sacred of Turkey Day traditions is being, if not killed by millennials, at the very least threatened: the turkey. To be fair turkey is very much figuratively aliveas a Thanksgiving staple, but it is a bit less ubiquitous. While the chief challenger for the turkey’s crown is ham, millennials have been anchoring their feasts with duck, vegetarian and vegan entrees, even crab and lobster. Pumpkin pie remains a perennial inclusion, but the locavore, farm-to-table, and healthier-eating ethos has made pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin rather than a can much more popular.

As mentioned, those are virtually all good things for the grocery industry, producers of niche food products that could have new-Thanksgiving appeal, and any grocery sales and marketing agency that recognizes the profit potential of a trend. It makes sense to lean into the “new normal” by featuring displays offering sales on ham, duck, or vegan turkey substitute. Produce sections can highlight their selection of delicious little sugar pumpkins for a pie that will be a hit at both Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving. Millennials are reimagining what the holidays can be, and food retailers can do so with them, or risk losing out. Fortunately, through working with an experienced food broker, grocery stores and brands alike can utilize their broker’s deep knowledge and insight into the industry and trends to help guide their stores and brands into success in today’s competitive market.

About Impact Group

Since their founding 1994, Impact Group has relied on leveraging precisely-analyzed, fact-based, and empirical data on both the trends within the CPG industry and customer buying patterns. This proven CPG marketing strategy has consistently and effectively guided their clients up productive and profitable growth and profit paths. Analyzing the industry-relevant economic metrics and capitalizing on them with their advanced proprietary technology has led to Impact Group’s recognition and respect as an innovative and leading-edge CPG sales and marketing agency.

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