Millennials Don’t Like Soft Drinks or McDonald’s


In Why Coke Paid $2.15 Billion For Monster Beverage (Energy Drinks), I linked to a Wall Street Journal article indicating that consumption of soft drinks had fallen from 56 to 42 gallons per person per year since 1998, and that the U.S. energy drink market had grown by 50x during the same time.

Well, it turns out Millennials aren’t crazy about McDonald’s, either. “The percentage of people age 19 to 21 in the U.S. who visited McDonald's monthly has fallen by 12.9 percentage points since the beginning of 2011, according to Technomic, while the percentage of customers age 22 to 37 visiting monthly during that period has been flat.”

I see this with my adult children and my college students, both of whom are much more likely to frequent healthier fast food restaurants like Chipotle. Or, they avoid franchise chains in favor of locally-owned-and-run restaurants.

This is a serious sociocultural threat to the core products of both companies. The seeds are seen in Generation X and Y parents who are less likely to take their kids to McDonald’s (except for when they’re in desperate need of a break from the kids provided by the McDonald’s playground). Coke seems to be adapting better - for now. With so many good choices for consumers, what can McDonald’s do to bring younger generations into their restaurants?