The atmosphere was buzzing, as Millennials and the industry got together to pick each other’s brains. Millennials definitely challenged industry representatives, but what did we learn from it?
Constituting 1/5 of the population and 1/4 of the workforce in Denmark, the Millennials represent the future’s consumers and labour force – a generation that is simply too important for industries to ignore.
Food & Millennials was the topic on the agenda last week, when Nestlé, VIA University College and Danish Food Cluster invited Millennials and the food industry for an afternoon of new knowledge, debate and new solutions.
Participants of the event ranged from students to industry representatives, such as Tulip, EASIS, Food Diagnostic, ALLTECH, Arla Foods and Dupont, who were all eager to get to know more about one another.
A good product is not enough
“A good product is not enough to the Millennials,” was a point by Anja Daugaard, Head of Sales at De 5 Gaarde, and a Millennials herself.
Millennials are critical, and to reach them companies need to look beyond their bottom-line:
“As consumers, the Millennials are really critical. They are reflective towards their actions and the products they buy, and this has something to do with the fact that they have grown up in a time where globalisation is a major topic,” said Morten Drensgaard, Product- and Innovation Manager at Mols Organic and also part of the Millennial generation.
They are born with a cell phone in their hand, and they are idealistic both as consumers and employees:
“In my search for a job, it was important that I did not just feel like a small piece in an organisation, but that I felt that I was making a difference with the knowledge I brought with me,” said Anja Daugaard.
A Millennial job has to be meaningful, according to Julia Laursen, Millennial and Nutritional Expert at Nestlé:
“For me, it was really important to work with something that was fun and interesting, and to have a job that made sense to me.”
Can we free Millennials from fake news?
The Millennials live in a time, where fake news and many health statements are part of their everyday blogger and social media sphere – a problem in many ways. But can we reach the Millennials with science, fact and information about food and health?
“The Danish Health Authority could try to establish a panel of Millennials and try to make science more sexy through this. Then it would be possible to be a critical consumer instead of believing everything you read on e.g. social media,” said Samantha Taylor who studies Nutrition and Health on VIA University College in Aarhus.
How should the industry connect with the Millennials?
Was another topic in a facilitated discussion, where industry and Millennials in mixed groups had to come up with solutions. Three central advice were:
- Use Instagram to reach us
- Communicate with and not to us
- Make an effort to create trust
Leading Millennials with coaching, involvement and CSR thinking
“Millennials are insecure but ambitious,” said Susanne Søndergaard Hansen, Area Manager at VIA University College.
Most Millennials have their own company when they are finished with their studies. But they rely on coaching from their leader.
Connect with Millennials through corporate sustainability, was an advice from speaker Marie-Louise Boisen Lendal, Founder and CEO at Frej – a Millennial who started Frej after her studies.
“The companies need something to believe in. They need to have a vision and a passion. Something that makes the consumers think they are not just earning money. Show the Millennials how you plan to make the world a better place,” she stated.
Speed dating between Millennials and the industry was the ending note to a day full of knowledge sharing, challenging discussions and not the least, great networking.