We actually thought the study would say Millennials are afraid of occupations with too many management tiers, or the collapse of Twitter during the Mayan apocalypse. But no, it’s beef. Beef is intimidating, and it mostly has to do with the Millennials lack of producing meals not involving Ramen noodles or the dregs left over in a Starbucks coffee cup. And this has beef manufacturers worried.
Millennials are becoming the fastest consumers, since all the baby boomers have started to retire and/or die, as Luke Russert would like everyone to remember, and the amount technology and online presence the millennials covet have led beef manufacturers to believe that millennials are just confounded by the thought of food preparation and the necessity of cooking meat properly. Are they just little harbingers of salmonella waiting to happen? YES! Say beef procurers.
John Lundeen, executive director of market research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says millennials present some unique marketing challenges the beef industry must meet.
Steak is intimidating to them. They do everything online, including finding recipes, and their source of credibility is not experts or TV chefs; instead, it is typically based in social media and could be called “people like me.”
So, basically, beef curators fear that if millennials don’t quickly find some “beefy” role models who can teach them how to cook a good steak, and not whatever “steak type” food items exist in the frozen food section of the local 7-Eleven, or what their social network friends deem as good recipes, they could be out of business. It’s the lack of beef awareness that’s the real problem, you see. All troglodyte millennials know about beef is that it can be ground up or broken into tiny pieces. They favor ground beef (tacos!), beef cut up for stew (burritos!) and stir-fry beef (fajitas!). Well, yes, looked at in isolation this does seem to be the Chipotle version of experiencing beef. And then there’s the whiny factor! Yes! Lundeen maintains that all millennials will end up either moving back home or otherwise poor where they’ll see steak as “Expensive” and “Hard” to work with. “What if I ruin it,” they’ll lament uncontrollably. Well, just pull up your hoodie hood and throw yourself on top of a retro Pac Man game. Life is over as you know it, apparently. There’s just no coming back from a ruined steak. Game seriously over. Lundeen envisions that flimsy, underemployed millennials with their useless arms and brain stems would just be verklempt when faced with the challenge of figuring out the challenge of fire meets meat.
But perhaps there’s an upside. Interestingly, if not a bit condescendingly, Lundeen acknowledges that millennials are very social and more accepting of other people and cultures, so that means the beef industry should work to cater to things that are a bit more “ethnic” as well as those things that bring ease to the sensitive millennial. In that case the answer could be rice pilafs! You know how millennials really, really like box recipe rice pilafs? Maybe a plan of attack will be to market beef menus that coincide with pilafs! PILAFS FOR EVERYONE! And what about stores like Whole Foods and other trendy, millennial frequented grocery places? Well, marketers now feel that they need to bring beef to where the millennials most frequent and shop — bookstores and Hulu net streaming viewing parties? No. Let’s not get crazy. They’re talking about natural-foods stores, farmers markets, farm-direct sales and even online grocers. And if you’re really good, millennials, maybe you’ll get a free CD-ROM on how to prepare beef with your purchase. HA! We’re just kidding. CD-ROMs?! They have no idea how this even works. Might as well put some moving images onto a VHS tape. Those things are somewhere in a 1996 time capsule buried behind their elementary school. Regardless, the whole key is to bring beef to where they are, make it more accessible, and ultimately hope that it’ll be less scary.
Curiously, absent from all this analysis is the factor that instead of millennials being nervous about beef, and whiny about preparation, it’s that perhaps many more are becoming vegetarians or vegans and really have no interest in eating beef flesh. Lundeen completely overlooks the assertion that millennials are not only more socially conscious but are also more apt to have stronger opinions about what they eat, where it comes from, and if it jibes with their moral and ethical convictions. We’re thinking as it pertains to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association those two “V” words are prohibited from being uttered, ever.
So you millennials know what you have to do, right? Man up and start cooking some steaks and beef! Or really just ignore the old men with the cows and eat whatever you like, but know you’ll think about it just a little bit when relatives tell you stories about great Uncle Horace who ate nothing but beef and potatoes for decades and lived to be 97 years old. Don’t ask about his colon.