Cargill: ‘Generation Yum’ seeks closer connection to agriculture

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

 ©GettyImages / Janie Airey
©GettyImages / Janie Airey

Related tags: Cargill

Young consumers (18- to 34-years-old) or ‘Generation Yum’ (a term coined by food author Eve Turow) are growing increasingly interested in learning where their food comes from and care more about animal welfare than older generations, recent research by Cargill showed.

In its latest Feed4Thought survey of 4,008 adults in the US, France, China and Mexico, Cargill found that twice as many young respondents in the US (35%) and reported knowing a livestock or seafood farmer compared to those over the age of 55 (17%).

Young respondents were also more likely to have visited a farm than those over 55 (53% vs. 41%).

Similar trends were found in China, France, and Mexico, Cargill noted.

“We know people increasingly care about animal welfare, the healthfulness of foods and sustainability,”​ said Marina Crocker, head of Cargill animal nutrition market insights.

According to Cargill’s 2017 Feed4Thought survey, 43% of US millennials said that a pig’s diet influences their pork purchasing decisions compared to 32% of all US consumers.

Cargill’s 2018 survey found that more than 80% of respondents said that the way an animal is raise is important and nearly half were willing to pay more (mostly young consumers) for a product with related product claims.

Nielsen data showed that sales of products with sustainable attributes​ made up 22% of the total store share (for the week ending Oct. 20, 2018) with organic, sustainable, and clean attributes driving most of the sustainable category's growth. Sustainable products' share of the store grew nearly 3% between 2014 and 2017. Nielsen projected that sustainable product sales will make up 25% of total food and beverage product sales by 2021.

Generational shifts aside, there was one thing participants of almost every age, gender, income bracket, household size, and nationality agreed on: The top responsibility of a livestock or seafood farmer, according to respondents of this global research, was producing safe food for consumers.

‘Digital revolution has arrived in agriculture’

Consumers are deepening their connection with agriculture and farming practices through emerging technologies such as blockchain​ which offers full traceability from ‘farm to fork’ and products that improve animals’ well-being such as Cainthus facial recognition technology which monitors individual feeding, drinking, and activity of cows.

“The digital revolution has arrived in agriculture,”​ Scott Ainslie, vice president and group director for Cargill’s animal nutrition premix business, said.

“This will offer our customers a completely different way of making decisions and marketing their products.​"

Sara Schmansky, VP of fresh/H&W Growth & Strategy a Nielsen noted: “The generational divide in sustainability is fueled by technology. We’ve found that sustainable shoppers in the US are 67% more likely to be digitally engaged, which means they are used to having the products and knowledge they want right at their fingertips. With their devices playing a significant role in their purchase decisions, a simple and frictionless shopping experience between on and offline is critical.”

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