Food trucks and millennials

Learn more about the food preferences and marketing strategies to reach millennials.

May 16, 2018 - Author: Diane Smith,

Purple Carrot is a Lansing area business that started as a food truck. | Photo by Diane Smith, Michigan State University Extension
Purple Carrot is a Lansing area business that started as a food truck. | Photo by Diane Smith, Michigan State University Extension

As the weather warms up, some of us will see more food trucks enter our communities and offer us options for a quick meal. Who visits the food trucks and what are they looking for?

Millennials have been great supports of food trucks. According to an article by Statista, the National Restaurant Association reported that consumers ages 18-34 were the most likely to purchase a meal from a food truck, followed by those ages 35-44.

So what are millennial food truck visitors looking for? Mintel’s September 2013 Food Truck article points to the importance of price, marketing and item selection in attracting millennials. The Journal of Food Service Business Research November 27, 2017 article states “millennials desire to try new things – new foods and a new culture”. As Midwesterners, Mintel points to price and portability as important factors. It goes on to say that, “due to the increase in snacking and an on-the-go consumption culture, food trucks are an increasingly popular choice” for millennials. Mintel suggests a balance of on-the-go convenience, coupled with cultural, gourmet or indulgent fare to appeal to millennials.

Marketing to attract millennials is also important. Mintel outlines a variety of marketing strategies for food trucks to gain more customers and build loyalty. The most common strategy is informing customers of the truck’s location via Twitter and GPS trackers. Many operators also take part in charitable programs to help consumers form a positive feeling for a brand while also helping a local cause.

For more articles on food trucks by MSU Extension Educators, see the following links:

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development and marketing strategies that will help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

Tags: agrifood safety, agrifood safety, business, business, business development, business development, community, community, community food systems, community food systems, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, food business & regulation, food business & regulation, food & health, food & health, greening michigan, greening michigan, msu extension, msu extension, servsafe, servsafe

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