A recent study undertaken by Symrise Flavors’ Marketing and Consumer Insights group addresses what factors are driving the growing acceptance of craft products among U.S. millennials, with a focus on craft beverages. The study is available upon request for food and beverage industry professionals.

Building and expanding on previous studies that support the millennial influence on new product concepts, Symrise worked with 40 millennial consumers in New York, Chicago, San Diego and Austin, Texas, to determine what is driving the demographics’ concept of craft products in general and specifically craft beverages. The study revealed multiple opportunities in craft beverage product development when healthful ingredients, interesting and bold flavors, unique combinations of flavors, and captivating packaging come together for a strong connection to the brand.

When millennials were asked about soft drink products, they reported that they see craft soda as a healthier option when compared with its mainstream counterparts — decidedly, a healthier alternative to alcohol. When these subjects were asked to identify the key soda product differentiators, they cited ingredients and flavors as having the greatest relevance. The group sees soft drinks as providing a joyful, exciting and social experience. Moreover, they conclude that to qualify as a bonafide craft beverage product, it should have a “handmade” image.

General agreement was noted in the ways millennials define craft products, seeing them as communicating an honest message and displaying a distinctive personality. Millennial consumers also tend to see craft products as edgy, capable of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary by adding a twist to traditional recipes and methods. They believe that craft beverages should be disassociated from beverages that are perceived as sugary and loaded with preservatives.

When millennials described the meaning of “craft,” they used adjectives that convey human characteristics — words such as honest, original, passionate and creative. They also associated the craft process with human-like descriptors, using terms that included man-made, authentic, high-end and real, noting artistic, honest, exclusive, bold and better-for-you attributes.

Emmanuel Laroche, vice president of marketing and consumer insights for Symrise, concluded: “Upon email request, we would be pleased to share our findings with you. Keep in mind that the details uncovered in this comprehensive study are already having an impact on our latest food and beverage flavor development. We encourage you to contact us for more information on our innovative ‘Craft’ product development concepts.”

For more information, contact Emmanuel Laroche by phone at 201/462-2389 or by email at emmanuel.laroche@symrise.com.