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Experiences key to tapping in to millenials group

After the Celtic Tiger excesses and Ireland's property market collapse, consumers born between the early 1980s and 2000 have become big influencers.

Known as the Millennials, they account for over 500,000 people in Ireland. Millennials - aka Generation Y - are hard-to-please consumers, used to cutbacks and having to live within their means.

Speaking at an Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) breakfast seminar, Bord Bia's innovation and insight specialist, Rory McDonnell, said Millennials have a no-nonsense approach. While they live within their means, it's not enough that they survive, they want to thrive.

Millennials like a simple approach to life where friends and community count. 'Emerald Noir' - as in realistic and earthy TV dramas like Love/Hate and Red Rock - capture their interest.

They go for brands which connect with them. So how do food brands connect with Millennials?

Create an identity with which they identify. As consumers, they feel left short and it's not just about having less money to spend. They value traditions, yet yearn to be more cosmopolitan. McDonnell says it's about looking both inwards and outwards at the same time.

Food marketers should offer experiences. For instance, Centra hosts summer street feasts; Vodafone stages the Smart Start-Up Network roadshow; and Kellogg's has its Field of Dreams GAA communities' competition.

Millennials make their own way in the world.

As fun-lovers, they try and escape from routine. They want foods which promote health and wellness and help them look good. While they buy super foods and shop at farmers' markets, they treat themselves by tucking into junk food at weekends.