youth consumer behavior: millennials and the natural foods movement
Crew Member: Matt W.
Millennials just might be the group to catapult the natural food industry into the next generation. Although natural food companies have had difficulties catching the attention of Generation X, retailers are beginning to look toward the Millennial generation to take the natural food industry to the next level. Here are a couple reasons why:
1. Brand Overload:
Millennials have been completely inundated with advertisements and brands their entire lives. It has become easier and easier for them to disregard brand names when making a purchase. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing groceries. Millennials aren’t purchasing groceries based on some underlying brand loyalty. Instead, they are reading labels and making purchases based on the health benefits and quality of the product.
Millennials have grown up seeing the creation of an obesity epidemic along with the many health issues that come with a poor diet. With so much discussion regarding healthy lifestyles, Millennials are beginning to take time to find out what exactly is in the food they are buying. If the food is unhealthy, has been exposed to pesticides or has been genetically modified, Millennials want to know. In fact, Whole Foods recently decided to label all genetically modified foods after customers voiced their desire for such labeling.
Despite the growing obesity epidemic in the United States, many people are taking steps to stay healthy. In fact, the number of gym memberships has risen considerably over the last ten years and natural food sales are rising at an incredible rate. Millennials have become very conscious about what they are putting into their bodies, making this demographic very enticing for natural food marketers.
3. But wait… aren’t Millennials unemployed and broke?
Millennials are often seen as poor, unemployed and full of debt. This creates the common misconception that Millennials won’t pay extra money for natural food products. But that’s just not true. Of course there are Millennials who prefer a diet consisting of Ramen Noodles and frozen pizzas. But there are many Millennials who are willing to pay extra for better goods.
Whether it’s paying more to see a movie in 3D or purchasing a more expensive smartphone for its superior quality, Millennials are willing to shell out extra cash for the right product. This also applies to grocery shopping – Millennials are willing to pay a little more for healthier, better-quality food.
A recent study found:
• 71% of Americans prefer to buy natural and/or organic foods over conventional foods if prices are comparable.
• 47% are willing to pay higher prices for locally produced foods
• 32% are willing to pay more for foods with no artificial ingredients, preservatives or colorings
• 30% are willing to pay more for meats raised with no antibiotics or added growth hormones
• 24% are willing to pay for meats raised under humane animal husbandry standards.
4. Starting Healthy Habits:
Many Millennials are at the stage in their lives where they are beginning to start their own families. This exciting time gives Millennials the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding what kind of food they will provide their family and what kind of eating habits they want to instill in their children. Over the years the Millennial generation has seen what unhealthy eating can do to a person’s body and health, making healthy food choices a top priority for many.
In short, the natural food industry has Millennials in their scopes. Despite being a generation filled with debt and unemployment that grew up in the time of an obesity epidemic, Millennials are more willing to go organic than many might think.
So what can this teach marketers who are trying to reach members of the Millennial generation?
• The quality of your product is just as important as your brand name, especially in the natural food industry. Millennials are more interested in what is in the food they’re buying rather than the brand name on the packaging.
• Don’t under-estimate the buying power of Millennials. Despite high unemployment rates and mounting debt, Millennials are willing to pay more money when it comes to quality products.
• Be honest with Millennial consumers. This generation is known for reading product labels, browsing online reviews and seeking word-of-mouth opinions from friends. Therefore, creating an open and honest relationship with this audience is very important.
• Emphasize the health benefits. Make it easy for Millennials to understand why your product is a better option for them.
• Reach them early. Many Millennials are beginning to build their own families and are establishing life-long healthy eating habits. Give them a healthy product that they love at a price they’ll love and you could have a customer for life.