Healthy snacks, one-stop shopping trips and brand ethos are millennial must-haves

Dive Brief:

  • For the first time, Conde Nast and Goldman Sachs have expanded their annual Love List Brand Affinity Index to include food as well as fashion in 2017, exploring how millennials feel about different food, beverage and grocery brands. San Pellegrino, Angie’s, Haribo and Duncan Hines were ranked as the top four brands among millennials.
  • Three trends found in the study include demand by millennials for healthy snacks, preference for one-stop shopping trips and interest in authentic brand ethos. Seventy-five percent of the snack brands on the Love List were health-focused. Wal-Mart was ranked the premiere shopping destination for millennial consumers.
  • “Convenient,” “easy to find” and “good tasting” rated among the top attributes for millennial brand favorites. Authenticity, transparency and connectivity also were found to be important brand choice criteria.

Dive Insight:

Marketers continually thirst for insight that will help them better understand millennial eating and shopping behavior, and with good reason. The demographic, which represents nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, is the biggest consumer segment in history — even more than the baby boomer generation. This latest study from Conde Nast and Goldman Sachs gives food brands more information on next-generation eating habits, valuable insight for manufacturers looking to innovate. 

While the rankings are interesting, many of the products topping the list are from the same brands that young adults have always loved. Regardless, the research confirms several industry beliefs about millennials — they tend to reward brands that fit their lifestyles, connect with them and stand for something in terms of brand ethos and corporate responsibility.

The huge number of snack brands on the millennial Love List doesn't go unnoticed. Snacking fits the busy, on-the-go lifestyle of the millennial consumer.

"When it comes to the brands they're choosing to purchase, like Kashi, Clif and Bear Naked, millennials are looking to brands that connect with them and fit into their lifestyles," Pamela Drucker Mann, chief marketing officer of Condé Nast, said in a release.

Food manufacturers need to invest in options that cater to millennials' preference for tasty, convenient and nutritious snacks through both product reformulation and new packaging. It’s a major shift for traditional snack companies as these bites between meals have been seen as less healthy treats. Snack makers should emulate companies like Oikos, Clif and Udi’s, all of which appear on the study’s Next List. They represent brands millennials are buying that weren't trending a year ago.

Brand ethos — described by buzzwords such as authenticity, transparency and sustainability — also is a key factor that determines millennials food purchases, suggesting companies will need to demonstrate corporate responsibility if they intend to win over the next generation. Connecting with millennials on their own terms, which increasingly means via digital platforms, highlights the importance for brands and retailers alike to adopt a digital and mobile strategy.

Interestingly, when it comes to doling out love for retailers, millennials show no particular favorites among grocery stores at least not yet. This means the next-generation food shopping trip remains up for grabs, and retailers must compete now to not only win over millennial consumers but also capture their enormous future spending power.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Grocery Meat / Protein Marketing
Top image credit: Symrise