The Beatles said it best: “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world.” It looks like Generation-Y, now the largest group of people in America, is doing just that, at least in the food industry. According to a panel at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit, the top 25 food and drink companies in the U.S. have lost a combined $18 billion on the market over the past five years.
That financial slide is due, in some part, to millennials, who desire transparency and are demanding customer conscientiousness from brands, according to panelist, Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky.
“Millennials are driving a disruption in the food industry,” she said. “I think we’ll see the food industry turned on its head.”
Consumers are shopping with smartphones which allows them to research options and make better-informed decisions, panelists explained. Campbell’s for instance, suffered a decline in millennials purchasing instant cans of soup, so the company bought up organic, health food brands like Bolthouse Farms, Plum Organics, Kelsen Group, and Garden Fresh Gourmet.
So what’s the next big thing? According to Tracy Massey, president of Mars Chocolate North America, low-fat, and low-calorie is out: Instead, Millennials are simply supplementing their diet with organic, healthy foods with simple ingredients.