Catering to a Multigenerational Crowd — The Latest Tastes and Trends

While the differences between baby boomers and millennials may be a favorite topic in the media, the reality is, these two groups have more in common than first glance would portray. Most significantly, these generations are inextricably connected on a personal level. The baby boomers may not always see eye to eye with “kids these days,” but many are parents of millennials and enjoy traveling and spending mealtimes with them, and vice versa.

Moreover, these two generations currently have the most spending power. Now, the younger generation may not have as much disposable income as their parents, but they are more willing to spend. Current U.S. statistics show that millennials make up one-quarter of the population, with the demographic outnumbering baby boomers by more than 8 million. However, baby boomers still hold more than 60 percent of the financial assets.

These two markets are the targets for the food and beverage and travel and tourism sectors right now. Focusing on what they hold dear collectively will help you successfully cater to these multigenerational spenders.

The Message Behind Your Brand Matters

Recent multigenerational market surveys show that the message of a restaurant or tourism brand is as important as the products and services provided to millennials and baby boomers. Both groups are looking to support businesses they deem worthy.

What Are the Parameters of Worthiness?

For both of these generations, an effort toward sustainable and eco-friendly practices is paramount. They are keen on establishments that use eco-friendly packaging and steer clear of one-use plastics and Styrofoam. They look for outlets that offer products that come out of ethical farming and sustainable fishing programs. Both consumer groups are also interested in seeing foods that are GMO- and antibiotic-free. Although, it should be noted that transparency is more important to the younger generation and they are less willing to accept a menu item listed as “free-range,” “organic,” “eco-friendly,” or “local” without further investigation or questions. Offering guests of your hotel, resort, or restaurant products of this nature will continue to be key to multigenerational marketing.

2019 Cross-Generational Food Trends

Eating for Health

More members of both generations are starting to take an active role in health maintenance and view prevention as a key to healthy living. Plant-based diets are trending within both groups. Interest in fermented food and drink, probiotics, and any products that promote gut health and overall well-being is also strong.

The Experience of Food

What is playing well in the large resort market is the millennial and baby boomer’s interest in experiencing through eating. A resort with multiple dining outlets, offering several choices of cuisine, will appeal strongly to both generations. Authentic ethnic foods, bold and unusual combinations, and fusion cuisine also appeal to both groups. They want their travel to be adventurous, and they want to understand and experience cultures from a culinary perspective. Smaller resorts and independent restaurants that may not offer as many options can tap into this trend by infusing their menu with surprising flavors from unexpected places.

Comfort Food

Somehow, we always return to the basics. Across all generations, people are unsure where the world and where we, as a global society, are headed. Consumer and political insecurity are a worldwide issue at the moment. Whenever there is perceived instability, whether financial or political, a comfort food trend is sure to follow. Elevated comfort foods prepared with quality ingredients and care will be on the trending list for some time to come.

Kid and Family-Friendly

If your target markets are millennials and baby boomers, then you have to accept the fact that children are a big part of the picture. If 90 percent of the United States’ new mothers are millennials, then a large percentage of the new grandparents are assumedly baby boomers. While the differences between these two generations may be more prevalent than their similarities, their family bonds are strong. Baby boomers want to travel and have experiences with their millennial children and their growing families.

These travelers are looking to visit places that offer most, if not all, of what they desire. Placing focus on appealing to the commonalities between the two generations will help your business compete for their attention and, more importantly, their loyalty.

At Merchants Market Group, our goal is to help our clients source the best ingredients and supplies they need to attract and retain their own loyal customers. For more information, please contact a location nearest you:

  • Merchants Market St. Thomas (340-774-5484)
  • Merchants Market St. Croix (340-773-5400)
  • Merchants Market Anguilla (264-497-5533)
  • Merchants Export (all other island inquiries: 561-844-7000)


Leave A Comment