Marketing to millennials

30 May 2018

Lamb shanks

The importance of serving protein with a side of provenance cannot be ignored or underestimated.

Such is the appetite of the millennials, the affluent generation aged in their 20s and 30s who demand customised, convenient, unique and ethical food – and it’s good news for the red meat industry.

'Meat' the Millennials

They were born: Between 1977 and 1996.

There are two distinct groups: Because it is such a large age range, the group is split on life stage – older millennials who are settling down with families, and younger singles or couples.

They value: Community, choice, innovation, convenience, integrity.

They’re influential: Millennials are influencing older generations – gen X and baby boomers.

They’re online: A millennial’s top source of food knowledge is the internet – most of that is social media.*

They love red meat: Millennials are among the consumer group which eats the largest proportion of Australian beef and lamb in the US.*

The next frontier: It’s early days but, as gen Z (older teenagers and young adults) start to make meal-buying choices, they promise to shift the paradigm set up by millennials.

A powerful generation

Millennials account for 33% of the US market. Their tastes and philosophies are infiltrating other generations, particularly their baby boomer and gen X parents.

MLA Business Development Manager for North America, Catherine Golding, has her finger on the millennial pulse.

“‘Millennial’ is becoming a mindset that drives consumer trends rather than an age-defined generation,” she said.

“The health concerns of baby boomers used to centre on removing fat, salt and sugar from their diet; now millennials are driving demand for food ‘that’s good for me, the environment and animals’ without losing out on flavour.”

Catherine said the good news for Australian producers is the burgeoning opportunity to promote the natural production systems of ‘True Aussie’ grassfed beef and lamb to millennials.

MLA’s marketing activities in North America promote provenance as more than just where a product is from. The aim is to evoke associations that influence purchase decisions, particularly among urban eclectic shoppers, such as ethically produced, high quality and natural.

Beef burgers


Fast-casual dining

Fast-casual dining is all about food with restaurant quality and the convenience of fast food.

Chains such as Chipotle, Elevation Burger, Panera Bread (which all serve Australian beef), Roti and Cava (dishing up Australian lamb) are driving the affordable, ethically produced food trend in the US.

Foods with integrity

The insatiable appetite of millennials for integrity and provenance (at an affordable price) is filtering back up the food chain.

MLA works with restaurants, particularly high-volume chains in the US, to develop ‘better for you' dishes which provide a great platform to promote Australian grassfed beef and lamb.

One such collaboration, with US chef and nutritionist Pam Smith, developed ‘mindful’ menu items that highlight Aussie red meat as nutritious, tasty and ethically produced proteins that better balance nutrition on the plate and align with US Department of Agriculture dietary recommendations.

Many of the dishes developed by MLA reflect a taste for the interesting, with ethnic flavours such as Japanese, Korean, Middle Eastern and Indian mixed up with traditional American dishes.

Veg-centric dining

The typical millennial diet is varied – they love meat, but also enjoy vegetarian and even vegan meals.

More adventurous dining experiences are largely driven by the fact they have a more ethnically diverse background than any previous generation.

The rise of foods such as the Beyond Burger, a plant-based patty that 'bleeds' to create the illusion of a juicy beef burger, does not mean millennials are rejecting meat – they just want choice.


Millennials’ demand for quick, convenient and customised purchases is behind a surge in home-delivered meal kits.

One in four Americans bought a meal kit in 2016, with the industry growing 6.7% each year and with millennials 321% more likely to buy them.*

Online is a growth area for retail food and an important platform to promote red meat. Already, 5% of buyers of Australian lamb claim that online is their main place of purchase, led by Fresh Direct and Amazon.*

Meal kits also represent another way to educate consumers on how to cook – a consistently reported barrier to consumption for lamb and grassfed beef.


Millennials crave connection to community, so MLA's North American consumer program is turning to community-based social media platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, and working with food influencers to promote red meat to millennials.


Email Catherine Golding


* MLA Global Consumer Tracker 2017

Back to News

Join myMLA today

One username and password for key integrity and information Systems (LPA/NVD, NLIS, MSA & LDL).

A personalised online dashboard that provides news, weather, events and R&D tools relevant to you.

Customised market information and analysis.

Learn more about myMLA

myMLA Sign Up

Already registered for myMLA?

Sign in here