Why Private Label Foods?

Are You Engaging Millennials?

Jul 20, 2011 by Brad Hanna under the Advertising & Social Media Consumer Trends category with Comments are off for this post.

This is an article I wrote for Progressive Grocer’s Store Brands magazine. It was published in the July 2011 issue.

If you’re not yet thinking about millennials, you should be, as this group represents more than $200 billion in spending on consumable goods.

To better understand this growing demographic, three marketing and consulting companies—Barkley, Service Management Group and The Boston Consulting Group—partnered on a study, “American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation.??? This new study is based on a comprehensive survey of 4,000 millennials (aged 18-34) and 1,000 older non-millennials to discover attitudes and behaviors toward cooking, shopping for groceries, and the role of name brands versus store brands. The research revealed that millennials differ from older generations in four key areas.

Cooking at

More millennials than older adults said “I love to cook and consider myself an expert,??? or “I enjoy cooking and being creative in the kitchen.??? In contrast, older folks are more likely to claim, “I don’t mind cooking; it’s just one of those things I do.???

Although cooking skills have continued to decline with each generation, as the economy has slowed, we’ve seen millennials turn to cooking as a way to create new experiences they would have previously paid for at restaurants. The bottom line is that millennials still are making food and drink a focal point for their social engagements; but instead of going out, they’re entertaining and gathering with friends at .

Desire for one-stop-shopping

Compared to older generations, we found that millennials are significantly more likely to shop for food at supercenters. This reality suggests a preference for a one-stop shopping alternative.

But retailers and manufacturers must understand what millennials are looking for in their selection process. Although the top criteria mirror those of non-millennials, a few key criteria are statistically higher for millennials, including:

Offers interesting or exotic foods
Is child-friendly
Provides samples of new food items to try
Provides creative menu ideas or recipes
Has an online ordering system

Millennials are also significantly more likely than older generations to consume fresh and organic food options, are are more likely to abandon their healthy eating habits on weekends.

Connection to private brands

Sixty percent of millennials believe private brands are just as good as name brand products, a number that is statistically significant and higher than that for older adults. Nearly two-thirds of millennials (63%) believe store brands are a much better value for the money, and 62 percent are proud of the money they save by buying them. When it comes to store brand products, millennials also want grocery stores to add more variety and continue to improve the quality.

Desire to connect digitally

The study also confirmed what many people probably already knew about millennials: that digital and online communities are important to them. Facebook is, without a doubt, the dominating digital force in the lives of millennials.

Yet, surprisingly, little difference can be found in the proportion of millennials that report having Facebook accounts versus the proportion of non-millennials. But millennials devote a significantly greater amount of time to Facebook than older generations do. And when it comes to liking brands, millennials most commonly visit those brands they “like??? once or twice a week, whereas non-millennials visit brands they “like??? less than once per month.

Millennials are also more likely to trust brands that are connected to social media, and nearly half of millennials believe it is important for a brand they choose to have a Facebook profile.

When marketing your store brands to millennials, you must understand their specific needs and market with them versus at them. It’s only then that you can expect to gain their loyalty.

Brad Hanna is the senior vice president, consumer packaged goods/group practice leader at Barkley, a Kansas City, Mo.-based advertising agency. He also is the creator of Off the Shelf, a blog dedicated to store brand marketing. You may reach him at bhanna@barkleyus.com.

by Brad Hanna under the Advertising & Social Media Consumer Trends category with Comments are off for this post.