Watershed Communications released findings this week from two national ethnographic studies examining the media habits of millennial food and beverage consumers. The “Media Habits of Millennials” study investigated whether social media and influencer marketing have eclipsed the impact of traditional editorial coverage. The “What Matters to Millennials” study set out to unpack the marketing buzzword “authenticity” and to learn what creates an authentic brand according to millennials.

According to the study, 84 percent of millennials say they can easily describe in one sentence a food or beverage brand or product they just discovered.  In the What Matters study, 100 percent of the Millennials surveyed said they frequently purchase food and beverage brands they list as authentic.

The top five most mentioned authentic food and beverage brands (in order) are: Trader Joe’s, Coca-Cola, Kind Bars, Honest Tea and Starbucks.

Based on the research, Watershed found six key pillars for building an authentic brand: Compassion, Community, Customization, Co-creation, Consistency and Conviction.

The Watershed studies were designed to help marketers understand how to build a stronger sense of trust with Millennial consumers.

As America’s top food and beverage companies lose an estimated $4 billion in market share (Fortune), the industry is trying to digest this dramatic power shift from trusting consumers to a new, highly-engaged demographic.