For years, the Baby Boomer generation has been the most important demographic group for poultry and egg companies to target as customers. While Baby Boomers still make up a large group, the poultry industry needs to also market to another group known as the Millennials.

Deborah Perkins, a food and agribusiness research and advisory team manager for Rabobank, talked about the two generations and other global consumer trends during the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar on June 26.

This emerging group of consumers was born between 1980 and 2000 and represents roughly the same number of people as the Baby Boomers. As many Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce, Millennials are entering.

"With more money to spend, that's a huge group for companies to target," Perkins said.

Now with two major demographic groups, the poultry industry needs to understand the contrasts between the two.

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Most Millennials really don't know how to cook, and they aren't very interested in learning how. When they do cook, they would rather watch a YouTube video about cooking than find a recipe in a cookbook.

The new generation does not tend to clip coupons or look for specials. However, they do try to find bargains when it comes to buying groceries so they can have more money to spend on the latest technology or on a nice meal at a restaurant.

She also stressed that poultry companies need to stay updated on social media, as the Millennials are very dependent on social media. Another marketing strategy that would be useful for this group is for poultry companies to promote good animal welfare practices, as the new generation is very concerned about animal welfare, Perkins said.

While the Baby Boomers are still a large demographic group to target, Perkins said the campaigns aimed toward earning their business should change. As Baby Boomers age, it becomes increasingly important to for them to be healthy and productive. Because of that, they pay more attention to nutrition than they did during earlier points in their lives. That provides an opportunity for companies who have taken steps to improve the nutritional value of their products.

Another important thing to keep in mind, Perkins said, is that people have fewer taste buds as they get older, so Baby Boomers like more flavorful products. This is a good avenue for poultry companies to develop new food products, she said.