The Millennial Shopper: Fact vs. Fiction

With a plethora of educational sessions during industry events focused on the millennial shopper, it’s clear that fresh produce marketers are still grappling with how to reach this generational audience online and in-store. This is something our industry should certainly figure out, because according to the 2017 ERS report, millennials exhibit a higher propensity to purchase fruit and vegetables compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers. With this being said, it can be easy to fall into generational stereotypes when it comes to this age-group. So – when it comes to marketing fresh produce to millennials, what is fact and what is fiction?

Fiction: They are not health-conscious.

Fact: The fact is that millennials grew up with a world of knowledge at their fingertips about health compared to previous generations. This access to education through the internet and social media is something that allows this generation to diagnose and learn about their health. Between Instagram fitness gurus, health-conscious cooks on YouTube and a great supply of lifestyle sites, it is impossible to not be intentional about health these days.  According to a survey by Wakefield Research, 20% of Millennials report they are likely to follow a vegan, gluten-free, ketogenic or paleo diet in 2018. 17% of Millennials are also nearly twice as likely as Baby Boomers to point to more organic food and product options as the most important change brands and retailers could make.

Fiction: They are anti-advertising.

Fact: Millennials can be highly opinionated when it comes to brands, products and the way they are advertised. According to a study conducted by the McCarthy Group, 84% of millennials stated that they did not like or trust traditional marketing. They don’t regularly watch television or read magazines and newspapers. Instead, this generation prefers live-streaming and video platforms, such as Netflix and YouTube. The key here is to combine traditional tactics with new ways of appealing to the audience in a useful manner. 57% of millennials state they are willing to view sponsored content from a brand as long as it includes authentic personalities and is entertaining and useful according to a study done by Adweek. This is where influencers can come into play to help a brand align with a trusted social personality in order to appeal to this age group.

Fiction: They are impressively lazy.

Fact: This generation swears by the “work smarter, not harder” motto. Where it may seem like laziness, many just loathe inefficiency when approaching their tasks. Services such as Blue Apron and Martha & Marley Spoon tend to be massive hits with the generation because they deliver tailored meals to their doors. This limits food waste and also allows them to save time. Delivery services, such as Favor and Uber Eats, also create that convenience. It’s no wonder that 62% of millennials reported purchasing prepared foods, carry-out or delivery within the last seven days according to the USDA’s Economic Research report.

Fiction: They are very cheap.

Fact: This myth is completely dependent on the product. Millennials will most likely put more money behind something they believe in and trust. Because they believe in maintaining overall good health they will place funds in healthier options to eat. Now, when it comes to housing and other matters it’s not a surprise that the older individuals in the age group and starting to purchase homes as they become more established within their careers. Millennials also work constantly to find ways to make things more affordable. Many still suffer from student debt and expenses they are crawling out of. As their earning wages increase more millennials are purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables with this continued shift toward healthy eating.

At the end of the day the millennial landscape is ever-changing and is not one that can be precisely pinned down due to the age, cultural, and earning differences in the country. Plus, this generation is starting to build families of their own, which means their priorities have changed since marketers first starting analyzing them. Take a look at these interesting generational facts and you’ll see what we mean!