Packaging for the next generation’s demands

Millennials are the biggest global generation and their choices ​​are the drivers for new consumption patterns and culinary trends


Globally, Millennials have outnumbered the baby boomer generation for more than 25 years. The “millennial generation” have the biggest share in developing countries, however in the coming years, also in developed countries Millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest generation (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2017).

The term Millennials generally refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s (Cambridge Dictionary, 2018). Sometimes children born in the early 2000s are included as well. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the generational demographic cohort following Generation X. The birth years of Generation X range from the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s.

Aged between 15-37, Millennials are the drivers for changing market demands. They have reached what the bank Morgan Stanley calls “the most important age range for economic activity”. Millennials have started their professional lives, making decisions and entering their prime spending years. Global spending power of Millennials is set to overtake Generation X by 2020, and will continue to rise (Hamel, Fenz, & Hofer, 2018). Millennials will soon be the world’s most powerful consumers.

This is the “Millennial moment”, long expected and feared by companies that built their brands for Baby Boomers. Millennials are leading the way for new consumption patterns and culinary trends. Food producers need to meet their preferences to keep or even increase their market share.

Zooming into the Food industry, the Bakery and Biscuit sector in particular, attributes that are important for this young generation of consumers are: Freshness,  Variety, Convenience and Sustainability. These market demands require manufacturers to adapt their packages/packaging to meet the requirements of this new generation of consumers.


When shopping in retail, the most important attribute for Millennials is “freshness”. The term relates not only to when the food was prepared, but also to aspects such as local production, traceability and minimal processing. Millennials purchase minimal processed/organic food most frequently – with an average of 60% of their food baskets containing half or more natural/organic products (Acosta, 2017).

The consequence of minimum food processing and no added preservatives is that the food is more prone to deteriorate/perish. In order to extend the shelf life of perishable products, they must be packaged in a reliable package.

At Bosch we have a wide range of solutions to protect your product from multiple exterior influences. Our experts can advise you on what solutions to use to make sure that your products will live up to today’s customer expectations and have an overall improved quality with a fresher taste and smell.


One size fits all is no longer an option. Generation Y prefers individualism over mass-production. They are attracted to new and exciting flavors and playfully composed products, such as ethnic cuisines and spicy offerings. The younger generation is more willing to experiment, and they like to mix flavors and food styles.

To keep up with the changing consumer preferences, manufacturers need to be able to rely on their equipment and produce in an efficient way. Blockbuster products and dedicated “blockbuster” packaging lines are no longer future-proof. Diversification is a must to offer consumers choices and variety on the shelf.

At Bosch we focus on developing equipment that allows manufacturers to run multiple flavors on one line. Examples are the sanitary design for easier machine cleaning (FSMA, Food Safety Modernization Act), robotic applications that offer great flexibility in terms of product handling and feeding and machine designs that support fast changeovers.

We have long-term relationships with food manufacturers of all sizes and over 60 years of experience in developing packaging machines. Based on this experience, our specialists can help you to future-proof your production.


Millennials comprise an age range (15 – 37) with a large variety of different life styles. With diversifying life models, the demand for different pack sizes and configurations increases from on-the-go packages all the way to family size packs.

In order to tap into the multiple market segments, manufactures need to be able to produce different pack sizes in a fast and flexible way.  Bosch machines are designed with fast changeovers and format flexibility in mind, so that different pack sizes can be produced on one machine. Together we can look at what would be the most efficient setup for your production.


Additionally, Millennials want companies to actively contribute in finding solutions for environmentally friendly ways of farming and packaging. In short, they expect companies to act eco-friendly.  Manufacturers need to limit their ecological footprint by reducing food and packaging waste.

Bosch can offer solutions that help reduce packaging waste during production and that allow for recyclability. Our experts can advise you on solutions that support you in producing in a more sustainable way.

With Bosch, you have a partner that stands by you every step of the way. Offering entry-level machines all the way to complete packaging systems, comprehensive training, and full after-sales service. We are here to help you address the consumer’s demands today and tomorrow.

To discuss current trends and to experience our products live, Bosch Packaging Technology invites you to IBA 2018 in Munich, Germany. Visit us in hall B1, booth 320 from September 15 – 20, 2018.



Christiaan Mulder


Phone: +31 (10) 4885-762




Acosta. (2017). Back to our Roots. Jacksonville, Florida: Acosta.

Cambridge Dictionary. (2018, August 24). Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved from Cambridge Dictionary:

Hamel, K., Fenz, K., & Hofer, M. (2018, April 30). How to harness the spending power of millennials: Move beyond the US. Retrieved from

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2017, August 24). Retrieved from Population Division (2017). World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, custom data acquired via website.:


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