Who do Millennials Trust?

Millennials at a Restaurant

Can’t figure out how to get the attention of your Millennial customers?

Information from a recent study conducted for the New York PR firm Hunter found that of the food stories that resonated most with all U.S. consumers in 2014, not a single one made it into the top three for Millennials. It’s just another indication that this age cohort receives and seeks information in a wholly different manner than previous generations.

The Hunter study found that the important food stories that matter to the general public don’t carry as much weight with Millennials. Rather, they tend to focus on the fun and the curious, compared to more serious stories concerning the environment or other food related issues.

The study, conducted online with more than a thousand adults in November, found that the top news stories for all were: 1. “The Great Western U.S. Drought,” 36 percent of respondents; 2. “Bee Population Shrinking,” 31 percent; 3. “The War on Sugar,” 31 percent. “New Food Labeling Standards” came in at 28 percent.

However, when broken out by age groups, Millennials (defined as 18-36 in this study) came up with a different list: 1. “Coke’s Name Campaign,” 27 percent; 2. “GMO’s: America’s Obsession,” 25 percent; and 3. “Pumpkin Spice Mania,” 22 percent.

The Hunter survey also found that Millennials made more food-related behavioral changes after reading news stories than other age groups did, especially when it comes to trying new foods, dishes or flavors and altering their diets, the report says.


Despite frequent reports that Facebook is being abandoned by younger users as older consumers embrace the site, Millennials are far more engaged in social media than other age cohort, although Gen Xers, perhaps due to their greater buying power, are the most likely to consider purchasing a product or trying a recipe after viewing it on Facebook.

The field of food and beverage info continues to level out as general food and beverage news from the evening television news or newspaper articles increasingly gives way to social media, non-news TV or news websites for information. Millennials are more likely to get their news from those sources, while the overall consumer continues to rely on TV, websites and newspapers.

Least-trusted news sources? Email ads, advertising or coupons sent to home, Twitter, online advertising and Instagram. This shows, obviously, while consumers like to use various sources of social media, they are still not seen as trustworthy.