Millennials actually are eating their vegetables
- Millennials consume more fresh fruits and vegetables than any other demographic at 2.7 servings per day, according to The Packer.
- Garland Perkins, a U.S. retail solutions specialist at The Oppenheimer Group — and a millennial herself — told the Midwest Produce Expo that the fresh produce market must respond to this trend with authentic and relevant messages via social media and email marketing. “It is key to connect to consumers outside the store,” she said.
- Online grocery shopping increased 24% last year, adding that studies show between 30% and 60% of millennial shoppers purchase groceries that way. And while just 4% of fresh produce is currently purchased online, millennials will significantly hike that number over the next five to 10 years.
As millennials increasingly make their presence felt in the produce market, stores need to respond to how they prefer to shop. Retailers can tap into millennials' impulse-buying tendencies through appealing displays, sampling opportunities and other personalized interactions. Millennials may not shop as often as other groups, but they make larger average purchases when they do go to the store.
Other ways the produce industry can more effectively reach millennials are by marketing fruits and vegetables through social media, telling their story, and even allowing shoppers to review their products online. While the latter is admittedly a dicey proposition — after all, there's no guarantee of a favorable critique — millennials tend to pay more attention to others' recommendations on social media.
According to research from IRI, sales growth on the store perimeter has been greater in the last four years than any other area, with fresh produce driving the largest share of sales at $62.5 billion. Part of this stems from greater consumer awareness that eating more fruits and vegetables can bolster overall health.
The popularity of "superfoods" — produce items, herbs and spices considered healthier — is reflected in this higher sales growth. Turmeric, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, kale and other leafy greens and citrus fruits all posted big gains in the past year, according to the IRI stats.
Convenience items containing fresh produce are also popping up to appeal to millennials who want quality food but don't want to spend a lot of time chopping and slicing. These include the standbys such as salad kits, but also prepackaged kits to quickly whip up smoothies, guacamole and single-serve veggie meals in a bowl.
Locally sourced and organic produce, along with items millennials particularly favor — kale, berries, avocados, Brussels sprouts and premium apples — are other foodie trends retailers can successfully harness. Millennials are also prone to shop for items that they've enjoyed in a restaurant.
Overall, stores can appeal to millennials by emphasizing a greater variety of produce items at better prices; more specialty items such as organic, local and ethnic produce; and enhanced quality, freshness and cleanliness.
- The Packer Millennials now biggest produce consumers