What if you could completely revolutionize the grocery experience for your biggest demographic?
For any company creating food products, it’s important to understand your key demographic. And for most grocers, that means understanding millennials and their shopping mindset.
Millennials are one of the largest demographics for grocery shopping. Therefore, the makers of grocery products must learn the ins and outs of millennial eating habits.
Wondering what these millennial trends in food are and how they can help boost your bottom line? Keep reading to discover the answer!
1. All About Online
Mobile browsing and shopping are more prominent than ever before. And when it comes to grocery shopping, millennials are leading the online charge.
This is part of the ongoing Amazon Effect on consumers. In an age where products and information are available at the click of a button, “online” and “grocery shopping” are fitting together like never before.
Now, this doesn’t mean that they all want food delivered (more on this in a minute). But millennials are likelier to embrace brands whose product info and mission statement are prominently available online.
This also ties into brand social media presence as well. Consumers are likelier to purchase groceries if they have had a positive impression of the company via social media or other online platforms. In fact, 63% of shoppers report digital interaction with supermarkets, and this has increased from 56% in 2017.
2. Click and Collect
Part of Amazon’s success has been their low shipping prices. For a nominal yearly fee, consumers can have most things delivered within a 2-day window.
Many local grocers successfully compete with Amazon’s fast shipping rates. On top of this, more and more millennials have embraced “click and collect.”
This refers to the process of ordering and paying for goods online and then picking them up at the local store. This makes it easier to avoid shipping fees and snag perishable goods.
Plus, it’s a very commuter-friendly way of shopping. Someone can order groceries before they leave work and pick them up before heading home.
3. Specialty Shopping
Once upon a time, the grocery shopping experience was mostly uniform and pre-packaged. Consumers went down the aisles, got their groceries, and checked out.
Millennials, however, love the idea of products that are “fresh” and “custom.” It’s one of the reasons that this demographic favors visits to the deli and bakery sections of their local grocery store.
This is also part of the larger millennial trend of embracing customer service and the desire for a special experience. Getting a unique bakery item from a helpful associate can turn a mundane shopping trip into a special and memorable experience.
4. Eating In
The traditional enemy of the grocery store is, of course, the numerous fast-food restaurants. Such restaurants offer the twin temptations of tasty (albeit unhealthy) food that you can eat with no waiting or preparation.
Good news for many grocery stores: millennials are embracing fast food less and less. And when they do eat out, they prefer quick-service places like Chipotle that offer a more customizable experience.
There are many reasons for the “eating in” trend. First, younger millennials may not be able to afford frequent restaurant visits each week. In fact, 34% of millennials have trouble buying the food they need, and don’t have the income to eat out.
And second, millennials are more focused on their overall health than previous generations (though older generations also dig such millennial trends).
Finally, there are more tasty food options available in grocery stores than ever before. Millennial shoppers no longer associate grocery store meals with bland, unhealthy options like Hungry Man dinners.
5. Ethical Consumption
Many millennial grocery shoppers face a kind of dilemma. And that dilemma is known as “ethical consumption.”
Some believe there is no ethical consumption. That is, that every purchase we make contributes to the harm of animals, the ocean, the environment, and so on.
However, most millennials want to make a difference in their shopping habits. Because of this, they are likelier to buy grocery products from companies that focus on sustainability.
This is also tied to a larger demand for company transparency. When millennial consumers feel they understand the values and practices of a company, they are much likelier to buy that company’s products.
There is a common misconception that millennials want to replace customer service with digital alternatives. Despite the love of online shopping, millennials place a high value on customer service representatives within grocery stores.
One reason for this is accessibility.
When someone shops in a grocery store when they could have ordered online, it means they want more than what the online store can offer to them. And informed customer service representatives help to provide that added value.
And as we mentioned before, a good representative is part of the overall experience and atmosphere of a grocery store. This is why even small interactions (like Publix employees offering to take groceries to a car) can make a big impression in customer’s minds.
7. There’s An App for That
Make no mistake: millennials are driving the market for specialty apps. And when grocery stores create a custom app, it helps to lure more of this demographic to their stores.
Remember, millennials are already online. They are likely to be cruising the store’s website, finding online coupons, and shopping around for superior deals.
A custom grocery app puts all that in one place. And it can even be used to direct consumers towards specific products and sections (like Target does with their Cartwheel app). This is particularly important with online shopping because otherwise, 54% of millennials are not going to impulse shop for food online.
Such apps can also integrate features such as consumer reviews. This leverages the power of “word of mouth” advertising on a platform fully controlled by the grocery store.
Finally, such apps can keep track of loyalty points and offer frequent shoppers small perks and rewards. In this way, grocery stores keep their most loyal shoppers happy and returning for subsequent visits.
8. The Rise of CBD
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that CBD was a kind of forbidden substance. After all, people strongly associated it with marijuana.
However, societal attitudes towards both marijuana and CBD have been softening. Accordingly, millennials really enjoy food and drink that has been infused with CBD.
Such food and drink are associated with relaxation, and it may offer genuine relief from things like physical aches and pains. Food makers in states whose CBD laws have changed (or will change soon) would be wise to explore the possibility of creating their own CBD infusions.
9. Safety Is King
In addition to relaxation, millennials associate food with comfort. And because of that, they want assurances that their food is safe to consume.
This is why foods labeled as “organic” have experienced such a rise in popularity. Many demographics view them as safer for consumption versus foods that are filled with a variety of pesticides and hormones.
Food producers may experience a bump in sales by adjusting their packaging and marketing accordingly. Reassuring millennials where their food comes from and that it is safe to eat automatically gives you a leg up over the competition.
10. Unique Shopping Experience
We have touched on it before, but let’s be explicit: millennials go crazy for anything that seems special or unique.
That extends to the entire shopping experience. Anything a store can do to make the visit feel unique to a millennial consumer (and create a sense of community) will win the store some serious points.
Some stores have taken to offering their own prepared meal services to compete with online vendors like Blue Apron. Other stores add amenities like coffee shops or kids’ play areas to make the store seem like more of a destination.
It’s not hard for a store to start standing out. They must simply visit the competition and figure out what products, services, and experiences no one in the area is offering.
11. Kill Those Carbs
Low-carb diets once seemed like, well, a fad. However, we’re here to tell you that these “fad” diets are actually here to stay.
The Paleo diets of yesteryear have given way to the Keto diets of today. And they all share something in common: cutting down on the carbs for consumers.
Accordingly, millennials like low-carb food offerings. And it can be tough to find something that is both tasty and low-carb in most mainstream grocery stores.
By offering an abundance of such foods, you can appeal to a true grocery shopping niche. And this will build instant loyalty and repeat business from your customers.
12. Mash It Up
On occasion, restaurant trends and grocery shopping trends truly align. For millennials, this is most true in the case of the “mash-up.” This demographic responds well to mash-ups (or “fusions”) of different types of food. And this is part of the larger desire to experience something special or unique.
Grocery stores that offer yummy food fusions can expect to see more millennial shoppers. And who knows? Those making these unique foods may kick off the next national food trend!
Now you know the most important grocery and food trends affecting millennials or should we say, Generation “Nom.”