Meat the Millennials

James Nason, 27/07/2011

What does the next generation of young consumers think about beef?

The National Cattleman’s Beef Association in the United States recently put the question to the test by asking “Millennials” – people born between 1980 and 2000 – to discuss their views about beef.

As a generaton Millenials are important to understand, because in a decade or so they will account for nearly half of all employees in the world.

Also known as Gen Y or the Net Generation, Millenials are defined by the experiences of their generation: many were raised by doting parents, competed in junior sporting tournaments where there were no winners or losers, were showered with attention and have never known life without mobile phones or the world wide web. For these reasons they tend to get a bad wrap from older generations but they are also the most educated generation to date, and are invariably regarded as positive, progressive and open, socially conscious, team oriented and good multi-taskers.

To reach these young adults NCBA’s market researchers went looking in the most obvious place: Facebook.

Their researchers asked a group of Millennials on the social networking site to participate in a six week long “discussion” about their relationship with beef.

To be eligible for the project participants had to be between the ages of 13 and 30, eat beef at least twice a week, have some level of involvement in meal planning and preparation, use Facebook at least twice a week and have at least 25 friends on Facebook.

The project engaged a group of 115 Millennials in daily discussions over the six week project.

"The overwhelming dialogue with this group of Millennials is that they do eat beef –  they just need permission to eat it more often," the NCBA's report concluded.

"They need help in understanding beef and how it can fit into their world today."

Some questions these Millennials wanted answers to include:

  • How much beef is too much?
  • How can they make sense of the “sea of red” at their local grocery stores?
  • How and where can they learn more about the various cuts of beef?
  • What recipes can they use that have beef as the ingredient?

"Clearly, there is an educational opportunity with this group of consumers and an opportunity worth pursuing given their size of 80 million strong," the NCBA said.

The project was successfully completed using a different methodology and one that works well with Millennials.

The next phase of research with Millennials will likely be quantitative in nature in order to validate the findings from this qualitative Facebook study and help the beef industry share information that resonates with this group of consumers. 


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