ORLANDO, FL: Dannon is tackling the "millennial challenge" – a trend that has seen the consumption of dairy products remain unduly skewed towards older shoppers – by tapping the insights from a multifaceted research initiative.

Olesya Govorun, Director/Strategy & Insights at The Dannon Company, discussed this topic at The Market Research Event (TMRE) 2015, a conference convened by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

"Millennials account for only 18% of yoghurt volume. And 18–to-24-year-olds account for just 5% of yoghurt consumption, which is significantly less than their fair share," she reported. (For more, including further insights about this audience, read Warc's exclusive report: Dannon tackles the "millennial challenge".)

"It's quite a significant issue for the category. And it's not a Dannon issue – it is a category issue. Every single manufacturer in the industry is facing the same 'millennial challenge.'"

To address this problem – and, ideally, help Dannon become "millennial-agnostic" in its decision-making – Govorun's team has spearheaded a wide-ranging research effort.

More specifically, it has drawn on a broad slate of sources including syndicated data, away-from-home consumption research, behavioural data, an online community and in-person ideation groups with members of the target audience.

While learning that millennials are actually similar to older cohorts in areas such as their attitudes to health and the main purchase drivers for food, Dannon uncovered several signals which will be actionable over the longer term.

"Pretty much every single millennial told us that it was very important for them to own the consumption experience," Govorun said, in describing one learning.

For Dannon, a potential application of this idea will be offering interesting flavour add-ons. "I think the way to provide customisation … is through creative mixes rather than plain old stuff that we gravitate towards," she said.

Younger shoppers were, equally, more "open-minded" about new product formats like shelf-stable and drinkable yoghurt, as well as novel packaging options including pouches.

"Millennials embraced it: they thought it actually fit their lifestyle and they were truly excited about where yoghurt can go," said Govorun.

Data sourced from Warc