March 26, 2013
McDonald’s is still the No. 1 fast-food chain in the United States, but for millennials — those estimated 59 million Americans ages 23 to 36 — the Golden Arches don’t rate among their top-10 restaurant chains, the company says. As AdAge.com reports, McDonald’s is attempting to court this important demographic by launching its biggest product of the year, the chicken “McWrap.”
Technomic, a food-industry research firm, finds that when dining out, millennials place high value on social responsibility, sustainability, and local, organic, grass-fed and hormone-free dishes.
According to NPD Group, the hamburger category — which includes McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King — still receives 29 percent of all fast-food visits by millennials, more than any other restaurant category. But visits to hamburger chains by millennials have declined 16 percent since 2007, compared to a 12-percent overall decline in the demographic group’s visits to fast-food restaurants during the same period.
As AdAge.com reports, McDonald’s isn’t the only major marketer trying to reach millennials, as brands like Coke and Gatorade and industries from brewers to media companies struggle to understand this group that seems to prefer higher-quality products and lots of choices.
Gary Stibel, CEO at New England Consulting Group, said that when his firm researches beer trends, it studies younger drinkers. “It’s like a python swallowing a mouse,” he said. “You watch that trend reverberate through the population.” — Greg Beaubien