If you didn’t know how much influence one generation can have on an industry, take a closer look at millennials and the lobster industry!
During the 2000’s, the lobster population exploded, which was a beneficial challenge to the Maine lobster industry, but at the same time, economic downturns caused a reversal of the promise that a burgeoning lobster population held. During the two decades prior, the 80s and 90s, a very large consumer group was growing up and coming of age in the early years of the new millennium. They’re the Millennials, a group whose numbers now surpass the Baby Boomers at 75.4 million to 74.9 million.
Millennials (those individuals with ages ranging from 18-34 as of 2015), have reshaped the world in a manner before unheard of. They grew up in a world that was darkened by greedy corporate practices, expansions and hostile takeovers, scandals and suspicions of the political world, the ability to achieve and maintain an anonymous presence electronically due to rapidly growing computerization, and the weakening of a job market where stability and security were a thing of the past.
As a byproduct of all the upheavals in their world, Millennials began looking for goods and services they purchased to have a high standard of authenticity, which meant that they had to have local or regional connections. All of this meant that lobster from Maine had all the prerequisites Millennials were looking for, and only elevated the state of Maine’s most recognizable icon to higher acceptance and relevance.
In the food world, lobster was considered to be a highly valued delicacy and a pricey menu choice, and if it was from Maine, even moreso. In New York City, where the food scene was intense, New York’s wealthier citizenry were willing to pay prime dollar for a lobster dinner, and restaurant menus knew this and made certain that menus specifically indicated that the lobster was sourced from Maine. Prepared and served on a pristine, white table cloth, diners were able to flaunt their wealth and status as they dined on a prized delicacy.
Enter the Millennials, who have grown into adulthood. With their unique values and aspirations, a great appreciation and affinity for the country’s most popular sea creature became apparent. The great appeal for lobster by Millennials was due in part to a deeper regard for personal health, as well as where food originates and concerns for the environment.
Symbolic of their world view, or how they believe it should be, Millennials want the things they purchase and consume to reflect the responsibility they feel we all should take to keep our environment and ecosystems clean and functioning the way nature intended. They want to support businesses that are honest and transparent.
While Millennials are appreciative of the “finer things in life” and products and experiences that give them a sense of self-indulgence and pampering, they are more concerned with the people who work behind the scenes to bring them the finished products. Whether it’s food or fashion, they’re concerned about the origins of the things they consume; whether it’s grown, caught, made, or created.
With preferences that pertain to the authenticity of things, one of the things that attract Millennials to Maine Lobster is its origins in the sea and the story behind its journey to their table. What grabs their attention is the fact that Maine’s lobster industry is made up of independent, owner-operated, entrepreneurial fishermen. Millennials are proud of the fact that the fishermen of Maine have a respect for the sea and its life, and they want to know what they can do to help conserve a valuable resource such as it.
Like anyone else, lobster’s sweet and succulent taste is what attracts and intrigues people. But the more complex story behind how lobsters are sourced, caught and served to the consuming public captures the attention of most Millennials, and they have a greater appreciation and respect for all that goes into getting them from sea to table.
What Millennials appreciate most about lobster besides the fact that it’s a delicious seafood experience, and aspirational in many ways as a symbol of luxurious living, but the fact that it comes from and is synonymous with simple, raw and rugged autonomy. Where they have been disappointed by the hypocrisies and empty promises of banks, business and governmental entities, the fishermen of Maine represent something that’s truthful, honest and someone with integrity. And the lobster they catch for the world to consume is an extension of that.
In a world that’s changing as rapidly as ours is now, there is still something purely fundamental and untainted about catching lobster and the fishermen who pursue them.