Sweet treats find new ways to appeal to Millennials


Adin Heller

Senior Research Executive, New York

From foodie footwear, to slimer-inspired juice, we explore 2 trends around Millennials and their resurging taste for the sweet stuff.

We’ve recently spoken about Millennials, Gen Z and their relationship with healthy snacking, but it seems this younger cohort still have a soft spot for sweet treats – even if they’re not physically eating them.

Indeed, we’ve spotted a couple of indulgent trends in recent months that have been tickling the taste buds of these influential consumer groups…

1. Good enough to…wear

Even though Millennials aren’t eating as many sweet treats as they did in their younger days, they can still express their love for their favorite indulgences via the unlikely canvas of footwear. ‘Foodie trainers’ are all the rage it seems, with collaborations including Nike x Krispy Kreme, Fila x Sweet Chick, Adidas x Coca-Cola, and Nike x Starbucks, among others.

branded shoe collage

Collaborations such as these tap into nostalgia (as Adweek recently pointed out, ‘food is inherently nostalgic.’) and create a buzz around both companies involved – especially if the product is a limited edition.

Importantly however, they give younger consumers a way to express brand loyalty to ‘less healthy’ brands – without actually having to consume their sugary products.

In fact, we’d argue that the likes of say, Krispy Kreme, aligning itself with the fitness-focused Nike creates a ‘health halo’ around the brand – allowing consumers to have their cake (ok, doughnut) and wear it too.

2. Blast from the past

Millennials and Gen Z love a good movie inspired beverage, as shown last year when Pepsi took us Back to the Future with Pepsi Perfect. Now with a new Ghostbusters movie on the horizon, the Hi-C juice brand has brought back the cult-favorite Ecto Cooler (a tangerine flavored juice drink).

Yet, they’ve given it a more grown-up look, removing the Slimer cartoon and instead referencing him with a green ‘ooze’ motif.


This design evolution makes sense for targeting Millennials – as the ‘ooze’ provides a clear nod to the original 80s incarnation of the drink without being childish. And yet, smartly, the design still conveys a sense of fun (and mess!) that will undoubtedly appeal to a new generation of kids altogether.