Content for El Economista.
by Juan Cabrera (Market Intelligence at Mero Mole).
Let’s talk about gender, about that which defines us as human beings, about that which talks about our masculinity and our femininity; a concept that over time has generated controversy and has been the central element in movements, conflicts and celebrations. A concept that continues to be relevant in any aspect of our daily lives.
We are living through times of transformation, evolution and development. Generations pass by and grow, the time between them is decreasing and their capacity to adapt is increasing. The industries that shape and lead modern life are losing boundaries and structures; life is each day more abstract and we are increasingly volatile.
Lunchtime is one of the most instinctive moments for human beings, but it is also one of the most interesting to observe how gender intervenes. For a long time it has definitely been a key factor in our decision-making. In a basic scheme, meat is for men and salads for women. We have all fit into this structure that, nevertheless, has diversified over time: not only meat, but also foods high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates are one hundred percent male and, on the other hand, healthy, light and natural are considered one hundred percent female.
Gender is disappearing
According to data from JWT Intelligence, 38% of Generation Z members and 27% of millennials agree that gender no longer necessarily defines them. These generations completely reject traditional schemes, they distance themselves from stereotypes, and are inclined towards originality and authenticity. Diversity is also valued and treasured in the food sphere. Today’s consumers seek to satisfy their needs and desires through connections that celebrate individuality and do not relate to brands, products or services that force them to fit roles or molds based on gender.
Today’s market identity
We are witnessing new generations that come out, value experiences and seek to connect and leave a legacy through the digital age; young people go out to eat at least 20% more than past generations according to sites such as Restaurant Insider. This represents a major challenge for the food and beverage industry. How to keep attracting new markets, how to stay relevant, how to keep a much more diverse audience captive? Diversity in today’s markets is a factor that significantly influences the evolution of brands and the way they interact and connect with their consumers. The concepts of masculinity and femininity are being blurred, therefore it will be very difficult to offer products and services designed from a traditional perspective of gender to be successful in today’s markets.
Today we can see men who prefer colourful and sophisticated cocktails, women who go out for a double burger and a beer, men who decide to diet with salads, bowls or shakes, women who give priority to proteins and carbohydrates. We belong to trends where there is zero tolerance for labels, which have undoubtedly also democratised the world of food and transformed it into a more holistic and inclusive lifestyle. The reality is that gender does not define a person’s tastes and preferences. At a time when diversity is a strong motive for celebration, it is the right time to speak to a wider and boundless market.
The wellness trend became a phenomenon that modified and broke several stereotypes. We begin to realize that there is no perfect body, so there is no image for the ideal man or woman. The healthy lifestyle has become democratic and is opening up the landscape in terms of tolerance and acceptance for both genders. As we have mentioned, the feminine world was related to a universe of well-being and a healthy lifestyle that completely discriminated against men. Today we find more conscious men who embrace spaces and opportunities that connect with the “feminine” world and more confident women who connect with the “masculine” world, feeling more comfortable and less pressured.
Some people say that we are what we eat, a phrase that is often misunderstood and connotes a series of limitations with which the current market does not feel identified. Today it is a question of how we eat, with whom we eat, where we eat and why we eat.