Millennials are keen to shell out more money for buying fresh but ready-to-eat foods that provide convenience, and are more concerned about corporate responsibility and sustainability, and look for environmental sustainability and nutritional content when purchasing foods.
1. Trends in millennial shopping behavior along with the change in habits for fresh produce at retailers
Trend 1: Online grocery shopping and delivery services are inducing produce purchases
- Due to their busy schedule, millennials and families with small children often do not have the time to plan and shop for healthy meals, and hence online grocery shopping appeals to millennials to receive fresh produce and other foods without needing to browse the store shelves.
- According to David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, produce benefits greatly from online ordering because millennial consumers are increasingly seeking healthy foods, and with the added convenience, they are likely and able to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Trend 2: Diet and super-food claims encourage produce gains
- Millennial consumers tend to eat less well because they are often too busy to prepare healthy meals, and their generation comes with fewer health concerns.
- Some trendy diets, such as the paleo diet and the raw food diet, emphasize the healthy benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables that appeal mostly to millennials.
- Fruits with natural sugars are marketed as a healthier alternative to sweets such as cookies, and as snacking becomes more popular throughout the day, ready-to-eat fresh fruits and vegetables represent an attractive option for many millennial consumers on diets as a replacement for sweets and other processed snacks.
Trend 3: Supercenters, specialty stores, farmers’ markets lure millennial consumers away from traditional supermarkets
- According to the Power of Produce 2017 report from the Food Marketing Institute, about 23% of millennials mention supercenters as their primary channel for buying their fresh fruits and vegetables.
- About 59% of millennials cite traditional supermarkets as their preferred channel for buying produce.
- According to the Power of Produce 2017 report, about 8% of millennials prefer farmers’ markets and are also slightly more likely to shop organic/specialty retailers for produce.
- Findings from the Food Marketing Institute’s 2019 Power of Produce report say that only 34% of millennials cite a supermarket as their primary source for produce.
- The 2019 Power of Produce report suggests that urban and high-income millennial shoppers are most likely to switch between online and in-store when buying fresh produce.
Trend 4: Wealthier millennials are increasing their purchases of fruit and vegetables
- Millennials have an increasing appetite for fruits and vegetables as income rises and allocate less to animal proteins, though there is a positive relationship between income and red meat.
- According to the 2017 United States Department of Agriculture report, the total monthly dollars spent per household by per capita for fruits and vegetables by millennials is $5.34 and $5.91, respectively.
- The monthly expenditure share of millennials per household for fruits is 5.71%.
- Millennials generally allot the lowest shares of their food budgets to red and white meat, indicating millennials have a stronger preference for fruits and vegetables and less for white and red meat when purchasing food at home (FAH) compared to older generations.
2. How and where millennial shoppers are getting their information?
- According to Garland Perkins, U.S. retail solutions specialist at The Oppenheimer Group, millennial consumers support online shopping more than any other generation. Perkins also said that only 4% of fresh produce is purchased online now, but, as millennials support online grocery, the percentage will considerably increase in the coming years.
- Millennials get a majority of their information from influencers. They follow influencers rather than advertisements.
- About 80 percent of millennials use their phones to research prices, while 68.9% use their phones to read reviews.
- Research suggests that 33% of millennials prefer to read blog posts before they buy vs. less than 3% who prefer traditional forms of advertising — like TV and magazines.
- 91% of millennials buy based on recommendations from friends and like to read content from their network of friends and family.
3. How are brands connecting to millennials?
- Brands are using advocacy to connect millennials as it is the fastest and most effective channel to drive home marketing messages and brand values.
- According to a Nielsen report, millennials are more likely to hear of day-to-day happenings with companies through social media outlets (such as Facebook, Twitter, or blogs), and are more likely to trust the information they learn about a brand through social media than the information offered elsewhere.
- More brands are preferring to connect millennial consumers through social media engagement and are outpacing traditional methods of advertising, like television and print.
How millennials want brands to engage?
- According to the Bluecore study on digital communication methods and channels between brands and consumers, about 64% of millennials prefer email as the most personal channel to receive brand communications. About 9% of millennials prefer Facebook, while 8% prefer text messages to receive brand communications.
- Millennials are most likely to use the Gmail promotions tab, and Bluecore research suggests that about 70% of millennials are the most active users
- About 59% of millennials report using their smartphone as the primary device for checking email.
4. What are brand attributes that are aligned with millennials?
- On the whole, millennials are not impulse-shoppers and like to research. Millennials also like to feel confident that the retailer and brand align with their values and even want to make sure they’re getting the best price for an item.
- According to the 5WPR’s 2020 Consumer Culture report, 83% of millennials want companies to align with their values, and 76% want CEOs to speak out on issues they care about.
- Findings from the 5WPR’s 2020 Consumer Culture report suggests that about 65% of millennials cite to have boycotted a brand that took the opposing stance on an issue, and about 62% are in favor of products that show off their political and social beliefs.
5. Is corporate social responsibility is a key driver for millennial?
- Millennials prefer to do business with companies and brands with pro-social messages, having sustainable manufacturing methods, and ethical business standards.
- According to a research study on millennials eating and spending habits, about 44% of millennials follow a special diet for a better environment/more sustainable reasons.
- Research also suggests that 37% of millennials follow a special diet for more ethical reasons.
- According to the annual Nielsen report on Global Corporate Sustainability, 73% of surveyed millennial consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Moreover, 81% of millennials even expect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship.
6. Where are apples and cherries among millennial’s preferences?
- According to Garland Perkins, U.S. retail solutions specialist at The Oppenheimer Group, millennial consumers favor commodities like berries kale, Brussels sprouts, avocados, and premium apple, influenced by restaurant trends, food bloggers, and other influences.