Today's picks

    Millennials are making frozen food hot again, but can they stop killing everything else?

    frozen food is super hot right now. According to David Palmer, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, sales volumes have grown for the first time in five years. And millennials are largely responsible for this, spending 9% more per shopping trip for frozen foods last year than other groups, according to Reuters.
    So why are millennials, a supposedly foodie generation, buying so many frozen meals? Well, largely because it’s convenient. “The average millennial doesn’t have time to make a full meal with fresh meat and produce, a Euromonitor analyst explained. “More and more they’re seeing these products as viable options.”
    The growth of veganism has also helped kickstart sales of frozen goods, with people spending increasing amounts of money on things like meat-free burgers.
    Stranger Things has also had a strangely positive effect. The popular Netflix show boosted sales of frozen waffles in 2017.
    It’s not just frozen food that millennials have helped bring back. Millennials get a bad rap for killing things, but they’re also helping saving a number of industries. But are they reviving as many industries as they’re killing? I’ve conducted an investigative analysis to find out.
    Saved by millennials
    In 2016 there were a spate of stories about young people shunning diamonds. But, lo and behold, rumours of the gem’s death were greatly exaggerated. In March, the Financial Times reported that “millennials are buying diamonds, it turns out”. It cited statistics from De Beers which found that “across important markets including the US, China and India, millennials represent 45% of all diamond purchases”.
    A couple of years ago Nike announced that it was closing its golf business, a move which immediately catalyzed a number of headlines about millennials murdering golf. But like most “millennials are killing things” stories, this turned out to be nonsense. Last year, the National Golf Foundation’s annual study of golf participation in the US found that millennials will soon overtake all other age demographics as the largest market share in the sport.
    You may be sensing a bit of a recurring theme here, but reports that millennials are killing the cinema turned out to be unfounded. Back in 2016 the industry was so worried about young people preferring at-home streaming services to cinemas that AMC Entertainment briefly floated the idea of allowing texting in movie theaters. However, according to Nielsen figures from last year, young people make up the majority of movie theater audiences.
    The LP is a hit again; in its 2017 US Music Year-End Report, Nielsen reported that vinyl was “experiencing sales growth for the 12th consecutive year, comprising 14% of all physical album sales”. But who is buying all this vinyl? According to YouGov, it is “older music obsessives, not young hipsters” who are reviving records. Stats from industry researchers MusicWatch, tell another story, however, showing that half of vinyl buyers are under the age of 26. I’m going to give millennials the benefit of the doubt here and give them credit for the vinyl industry. They need all the wins they can get.
    Killed by millennialsBar soap
    Three in five millennials think bar soap is gross, Mintel has found, and sales are declining in favour of shower gel and liquid soap.
    Chewing gum
    Chewing gum used to be something young people did; not any more. Thanks to online shopping, self-checkout lanes and distracting mobile phones, there has been a decrease in impulse grocery purchases in recent years. Chewing gum has been hit particularly hard, with sales declining more than 40%in the last decade according to a 2016 report by Euromonitor.
    Focus groups
    In 2015, a panel at Advertising Week bemoaned the fact that millennials didn’t want to talk about their hopes and dreams to marketers in focus groups. They’d rather have their personal data scraped by social networks instead.
    Rather than having a nice napkin at the dinner table, millennials are using paper towels instead. There is even a hashtag: #yesweusepapertowelsfornapkins.
    In the US, prime-time viewership of the Rio Olympics was down 25% among 18-to-49-year-olds from the London Games four years ago. “Sports is less ingrained in the younger demographic,” one analyst told Bloomberg. “It has been replaced by other things like video games and e-sports and Snapchat feeds.”
    Millennial feminists are just saying no to thongs, the New York Times breathlessly informed us in 2015. Rather, millennials consider it cool to wear full-bottom underwear, according to research from Euromonitor.
    Toys R Us
    In March Toys R Us announced it was closing or selling all of its 735 stores in the United States, after 70 years in business. Part of the reason, according to the company’s 2017 annual report, was that millennials simply weren’t having enough kids. Which is obviously because millennials are selfish and nothing at all to do with America’s horrendous maternity leave laws and sky-high childcare prices.
    In conclusion
    Millennials may have saved frozen foods but they’re still industry-killing monsters.