Will Millennials abandon traditional grocers?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.
Research shows that Millennials, who recently surpassed Boomers as the largest population cohort, are unfamiliar with many of food’s legacy brands that were regularly advertised on TV to Boomers. Says Don Stuart, managing partner at Cadent Consulting Group. “There’s this dependence by retailers on brands that are really out of step with the largest segment of the population, which is pretty scary.”
Indeed, Millennials, who tend to be less brand-conscious and more price-conscious than other consumers, are all about attributes, and natural and healthy top the list. That holds an advantage for perishables and points to a need for brands to play up better-for-you attributes, such as organic.
Yes, Millennials are on a budget, adds Bob Shaw, president and CEO of Concentric Marketing, “But they’re more about value, not cheapness, and are willing to pay for quality when they actually see it.”
“Millennials also love unique things,” reports Mr. Shaw, about the generation often described as “adventurous eaters.” He suggests retailers add a little excitement to their assortments. Since Millennials grew eating ethnic food, retailers might try merchandising ethnic frozen meals alongside conventional frozen meals, not in a separate section. Same goes for natural and organic fare. Convenient meal solutions and semi-prepared meals should attract Millennials who cook less than previous generations.
It sounds a little silly but a warmer, less sterile atmosphere wouldn’t hurt either. For example, Minnesota’s Lunds & Byerlys puts its frozen aisle in the middle of the store — under a chandelier, no less — which makes frozen more of a destination section than an afterthought, reports Mr. Stuart.
Since Millennials are always on their phones in-store — comparing prices, looking up nutritional information or searching Pinterest for recipes — Jon Hauptman, partner at Willard Bishop, believes digital offers and coupons are more likely to attract this shopper segment than traditional paper coupons or the paper circular.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are Millennials’ grocery needs and overall shopping habits working against traditional grocers and the legacy brands they stock? What merchandising and selection adjustments would you recommend to grocers looking to win with Millennials?