GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS
LIKE HERSHEY BRANDED DESSERTS

It pays to be sweet.

RESEARCH PRESENTED BY:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A WORD

from the Study's Authors

WELCOME TO THE 2018 STUDY ON HERSHEY BRANDED DESSERTS.
WE ARE PLEASED TO SHARE OUR EXCITING FINDINGS WITH YOU.

Gen Z and Millennial consumers are a tremendously influential segment of the dessert buying market with spending power that will only accelerate in the next five years.

Understanding these generations of consumers is critical to the continued success of the restaurant industry as this huge new generation forms not only their brand loyalty, but also the habits and decision cycles they will use as consumers going forward.

This national study was led to bring the missing research-based insights, data, and truth to the perception of branded dessert items and Hershey products specifically among Gen Z and Millennial consumers.

The Hershey Company and The Center for Generational Kinetics are pleased to partner on this insightful national research designed to uncover the perceptions, influences, and loyalty of branded dessert products among young consumers as well as understanding and optimizing the messaging techniques for promoting these branded product offerings.

~The Hershey Company and The Center for Generational Kinetics

DESSERT
DEVOTION ON
THE NEXT LEVEL

Gen Z and Millennials

HAVE A STRONG CONNECTION TO DESSERTS

When it comes to desserts, Gen Z (18-21) and Millennials (22-39) are vocal advocates. They have a unique relationship with sweets that touches multiple areas of their lives. It is clear that dessert preferences and trends among these younger consumers are not only powerful but influential in terms of their thoughts and behaviors.

The national study found that 87% of Gen Z and Millennials think about eating dessert one or more times per day! Additionally, 76% of Gen Z and Millennials think dessert is essential to special occasions and 48% have a family tradition involving a specific dessert. Clearly, desserts have a stalwart position in the lives and experiences of these younger generations.

According to the national study, this infatuation with desserts becomes more apparent the younger the generation, sometimes even taking the place of traditional meals. Half of all Gen Z has ordered a dessert instead of an entrée at a restaurant. Gen Z seems to heavily incorporate desserts into their social lives and even their relationships.

It's plainly evident that desserts have a special value in the lives of Gen Z and Millennials with a power that impacts even their personal relationships and behaviors.

Millennials and Gen Z have a strong connection with desserts that places these foods very top of mind and establishes them as essential to social and special occasions. Gen Z is particularly influenced by desserts and has integrated them into multiple social interactions and relationship scenarios.

Branded Desserts are

TOP ON THE 'MUST TRY' LIST

ALONG WITH AN OBVIOUS AFFINITY FOR DESSERTS IN GENERAL, MILLENNIALS AND GEN Z ALSO HAVE A STRONG WILLINGNESS TO TRY BRANDED DESSERT ITEMS.

When asked how likely they would be to try a variety of branded food categories, Gen Z and Millennials listed branded desserts as their top preference. The national study uncovered that 68% of Gen Z and 64% of Millennials would be likely to try a branded dessert for the first time. For both generational groups this was the highest rated category of branded item. Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to try every type of branded category, particularly branded beverages.

Interestingly, the likelihood of trying a branded dessert item is the highest ranked category not only for both generations but also both genders. The national study found that 61% of men and an astonishing 71% of women said they are likely to try a branded dessert for the first time. Each of these represented the highest-ranking category in the group.

Trying a branded dessert for the first time topped the list in all demographic groups demonstarting the enormous growth potential of this category.

When it comes to younger generations' willingness to try a new type of branded food category, branded desserts take the cake. The majority of both Gen Z and Millennials are willing to try a branded dessert for the first time. Branded desserts are also the top category to try for the first time with both men and women.

HERSHEY IS

WORTH SHARING

From Snapshot
TO SNAPCHAT

Capturing a photo of a delicious, alluring meal on your phone has now become commonplace in our society. Nowhere is this phenomenon more pervasive than with young consumers.

According to the national study, when asked which food course (appetizers, entrée, sides, desserts, drinks, etc.) they photograph the most, 42% of Gen Z said dessert representing the top choice. Additionally, 46% of Gen Z have a picture of a dessert in their phones right now. Dessert is clearly the most popular photographed food course for Gen Z. Dessert is the most often photographed food course for Gen Z.

Not only did the national study discover that desserts are the most photographed food course by Gen Z consumers, it also revealed that Hershey branded desserts are particularly influential when it comes to social media sharing.

The national study discovered that 39% of Gen Z are more likely to post a picture of their dessert on social media when it has Hershey ingredients. In addition, young consumers have a host of other activities they are likely to do if they enjoy a dessert in a restaurant that has Hershey ingredients.

Almost half of Gen Z say they would recommend the dessert to someone else in person, and 31% of Gen Z say they would post a comment about the Hershey dessert on social media.

Millennials and Gen Z

SHARE ONLINE

Not only is Gen Z more likely to take a picture of dessert over any other meal throughout their day, they are also more likely to post it on social media when it is a Hershey branded dessert item. More than any other age group, Gen Z is likely to post about their experience after enjoying a Hershey dessert on social media.

THE POWER
OF HERSHEY

Hershey Desserts
Prompt Repeat Visits
and Premium Pricing

A CLEAR TAKEAWAY FROM THIS STUDY IS THAT DESSERTS ARE A PRIORITY FOR GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS.

They crave, prioritize, and seek out specific desserts. In fact, 47% of Gen Z and Millennials have a specific restaurant they frequent just for desserts.

This is even more prevalent for Hershey branded desserts. Not only are Gen Z consumers more likely to post pictures and comments on social media after enjoying a Hershey branded dessert, they are also much more likely to return to a specific restaurant. A whopping 70% of Gen Z are likely or very likely to return to a restaurant after enjoying a Hershey branded dessert.

Furthermore, when asked how much more they would be willing to pay for a dessert that contained Hershey ingredients, the vast majority of Gen Z and Millennial consumers said they would be willing to pay between $.50 and $1.50. One third of Gen Z and Millennial consumers were represented in this sweet spot and willing to pay more for a Hershey branded dessert item.

However, 23% of Gen Z and 26% of Millennials are willing to pay over $2.00 more for a Hershey branded dessert item. Clearly, the Hershey brand, loyalty, and trust resonate with this young group of consumers.

THE POWER OF HERSHEY
BRANDED DESSERTS

Hershey branded dessert items have staying power with young consumers. Not only are Gen Z and Millennials more likely to return to a restaurant after enjoying a Hershey branded dessert item, they will also pay more for a dessert item that is Hershey branded.

RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS

Gen Z and Millennials have a unique and heightened connection with desserts that covers multiple areas of their daily lives. These generations are interested in trying branded desserts over other food categories and they are more likely to take pictures of desserts and share them on social media. These generations are also loyal to Hershey branded products as they are more likely to return to a restaurant and pay more for a product with Hershey ingredients.

The national study revealed several key findings that can be implemented immediately and have the lasting effects on Gen Z and Millennial appeal, loyalty, and business. Food retailers and restaurants have a vast opportunity to win Gen Z and Millennials as loyal customers. Here are suggestions from the study for success with these younger consumers.

RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS

Three key takeaways from the national study:

1. APPROACH GEN Z WITH A 'DESSERT FIRST' MENTALITY-Gen Z consumers have an especially strong connection to dessert and will choose a restaurant just to enjoy a favorite dessert. Desserts are not an afterthought for this generation and should be frontloaded on the menu, by the server, and in messaging. Highlight dessert menus to be noticeable and easy to locate.

2. FOCUS ON SOCIAL MEDIA to engage with younger consumers where they are already-These consumers post a great deal of their restaurant purchases and are particularly fond of posting dessert photos. Run social media contests, giveaways, and special offers to increase tagged dessert posts to continuously connect with Gen Z and Millennial consumers.

3. USE HERSHEY BRAND TRUST TO DRIVE RETURN VISITS-Younger consumers identify with Hershey and trust that these branded ingredients deliver on quality and taste. Use this brand power to draw the attention of Gen Z consumers. Create new experiences by offering Hershey specials or highlighting seasonal Hershey desserts to keep them coming back again and again.

ABOUT

the Authors

THE HERSHEY COMPANY

Hershey Foodservice is one of the industry's leading branded sweet ingredient, snack and refreshment suppliers. We offer a wide range of branded products that meet your snacks/convenience, toppings, baking/culinary and specialty beverage needs, including chips, syrups, fudge, cocoa and chopped ingredients, as well as confections, snacks, gum and mints from consumer-recognized and trusted brands like HERSHEY'S, REESE'S and HEATH.

To learn more, visit hersheyfoodservice.com.

THE CENTER FOR
GENERATIONAL KINETICS

The Center for Generational Kinetics is the leading research, speaking, and solutions firm focused on Millennials, Gen Z, and solving cross-generation challenges. The Center's team of PhD researchers, strategists, and speakers help leaders around the world solve tough generational challenges in areas ranging from leading across multiple generation in a global company to selling and marketing to Millennials and Gen Z.

Each year, The Center works with over 180 clients around the world, from car manufacturers and global hoteliers to insurance companies, hospital groups, and international software firms. The Center's team is frequently quoted in the media about the effect of generational differences on everything from shopping and parenting to work style and social media.

Learn more about The Center at GenHQ.com.

METHODOLOGY

The Hershey Company and The Center for Generational Kinetics jointly led this research study. The survey was administered to 1,250 U.S. respondents ages 18-39 including a 250-person oversample of Generation Z ages 18-21.

Generation Z is defined as those born in 1996 or more recently, Millennials are defined as those born between 1977 and 1995. The sample was weighted to the current U.S. Census data for age, gender, and region.

The survey was conducted online from October 24, 2017 to November 1, 2017 and has a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points.

COPYRIGHT
AND USAGE

This document is under copyright 2018 by The Hersey Company and The Center for Generational Kinetics, LLC. All rights reserved.

The information in this document can be referenced in the media, in whole or in part, as long as this document is cited as the source for the information. In no way does this document provide an endorsement of any product, service, company or individual.

This document is provided "as is." Information and views expressed in this document may change without notice. The strategies and examples depicted herein are provided for illustration purposes only and are not guarantees of specific results. You bear the risk of using this document.

To dish up your own desserts, contact your
Hershey Foodservice Team.

CONTACT HERSHEY


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

MILLENNIALS ARE
DESSERT OBSESSED

DOWNLOAD THE WHITEPAPER

VISUALIZE
THE DATA

DOWNLOAD INFOGRAPHIC