Millennials Weigh in on What Makes Food Brands Authentic




Today Watershed Communications released findings from two national ethnographic studies examining the media habits of millennial food and beverage consumers. The “Media Habits of Millennials” study investigated whether social media and influencer marketing have eclipsed the impact of traditional editorial coverage. The “What Matters to Millennials” study set out to unpack the marketing buzzword “authenticity” and to learn what creates an authentic brand according to millennials.

Hear from the millennials themselves, and learn more about our methodology below:





Media Habits of Millennials 

Download the Media Habits of Millennials infographic
Download the What Matters to Millennials infographic 
Download the Proprietary Research Press Release
Download the Proprietary Research Methodology FAQ


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Methodology F.A.Q.

What is an ethnographic study?

Both research studies were both conducted using a qualitative, anthropological method called digital ethnography. To capture consumer behaviors, as well as consumer attitudes, participants responded to both closed and open-ended questions with video, voice, image, and text uploads.

In the “Media Habits of Millennials” study, participants were asked to document with a video response every time he or she discovered a new food or beverage product through the news, a magazine, or a blog. Participants then responded to an additional nine questions about their discovery.

In the “What Matters to Millennials” study, participants were asked to describe by video upload a food or beverage brand they found authentic. No pre-set answers were given; all submissions were original and organic. Participants then responded to an additional nine questions about their shopping habits.


How many responses did you gather?

In the “Media Habits of Millennials” study, we looked at 178 video from 67 millennials submitted over the course of a week.

In the “What Matters to Millennials” study, we spoke to four hundred millennials over the course of five days.


Who are these shoppers?

This was a national study, with participants in every region of the U.S. living in a mix of urban, suburban, and rural residential areas. We only spoke to millennials, those 18 to 35 years of age, with an even spread across the age group.

Participants closely reflect census demographic percentage breakdown for ethnicity, and gender is split 60% female, 40% male. Participants belong to a variety of household compositions, including living alone, with parents, with roommates, with a partner/spouse, and with a partner/spouse plus a child. The education level of participants is proportional to averages for this age group.


What are the shopping behaviors of these millennials?

We focused on premium shoppers. Household incomes skew slightly higher than the national average for this age group. 89% of respondents are extremely willing to try new food and beverage products and 79% of participants are selective about the food and beverage products they purchase.

All participants are responsible for at least half of all food and beverage purchases in their household; 75% are responsible for most or all of the food and beverage purchases.


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