Dealing pizza meals to millennials

by Jeff Gelski
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Pizza Hut's bacon-and-cheese-stuffed crust pizza was designed with millennials in mind.

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Millennials may seek pizza deals, but you may never see them holding a pair of scissors in one hand and a newspaper in the other.

“Couponing has become cool again, but this is not your grandma’s coupon,” said Michelle Finnerty, a product developer for Pizza Hut, during an Oct. 6 presentation at the AACC International annual meeting in Providence.

Millennials generally do not read newspapers. They find coupons in other ways.

“Everything comes from their smart phone,” Ms. Finnerty said.

Fixed price points such as all-you-can eat deals, $5 pizzas and $10 large pizzas appeal to millennials, generally recognized as the 18-34 age group. Their frugal ways developed because the recession affected them the most, Ms. Finnerty said. Twenty per cent have experienced at least one pay cut since 2008, and 14% were laid off, which compares to 8% of baby boomers.

“They are thrifty in clever ways,” said Ms. Finnerty, who was a lead developer in the Bacon. Cheese. Stuffed. Crust. pizza for Pizza Hut.

Millennials may pay more for products associated with social causes, such as organic or Certified Humane, said Barbie Sullins King, a product developer for Yum! Brands, Inc., which owns Pizza Hut.

“They are going to splurge on things that really matter to them,” said Ms. King, a lead developer in the Ultimate Hershey's Chocolate Chip Cookie for Pizza Hut.

She gave the example of a Domino’s pizza box that features five cows and their names. The box shows how Domino’s sources its cheese.

Who orders the pizza may vary in a millennial household. Traditionally, mom used to make the meal decision. The millennial home, in contrast, may involve single parenting or co-habitation, Ms. Finnerty said. The millennial family home may include friends along with relatives.

“Now there isn’t just one mom,” Ms. Finnerty said. “There are multiple decision makers.”

Ordering out for pizza appeals to millennials. They do not want cooking to become a time-consuming chore.

“Dinner becomes more of a family time, where they want to engage and enjoy each other’s time,” Ms. Finnerty said.

She added since millennials are more diverse ethnically and have travelled more than people in other age groups, millennials show more interest in flavor fusion. Pizza with chipotle, Tuscan or Thai flavors may appeal to them.
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