Grocery shoppers are eating healthier, they are on the go, and they are on a budget. While the Millennial population may be a driving force affecting all three of these trends, consumers wanting healthier choices and a good value extend beyond Gen Y.
1. The Millennial Consumer
The Millennial generation has had a major impact on the transformation of the food retailing industry. They are known for being on the go, social and tech savvy. They are also looking for a good deal and want to eat healthy. They are likely to shop multiple channels for their groceries and they make more frequent trips. Millennials tend to do more recipe specific shopping, making the trip only for the needed ingredients for that day’s meal. In fact, 43% of this group creates their shopping lists around a recipe. Millennials are also more likely to make their shopping lists right before they head to the store, unlike many shoppers that create lists as they run out of items.
Grocery retailers have responded with more grab and go healthy food options and by displaying the ingredients to popular recipes conveniently all together in a merchandise display to make shopping more convenient. Mega stores like Walmart, Target and Kroger are opening much smaller format neighborhood markets in convenient locations with more product curation catered to specific customers.
2. The Health Conscious Consumer
Nutrition continues to be a strong influence in shopper marketing, not just with the Millennial group, but across most consumer groups. Consumers are looking for more variety and placing increased emphasis on locally-sourced items. They want better quality, more organic options, gluten free choices and less processed food items. They are also cooking more meals at home.
75% of consumers choose which store to do their shopping based on the store’s produce department. According to a recent Food Navigator article, consumers perceive local produce as being fresher, and of higher quality and nutrition. 25% of shoppers seek out locally grown food items.
Grocery stores are responding by carrying more organic products, and even creating entire sections of fresh organic produce. In addition to larger selections of healthy foods, many stores are also incorporating nutrition into store events and on their websites. Grocery chain Piggly Wiggly has a section of their website dedicated to Gluten Free consumers, and offers a list that customers can print with the best of gluten free options available in their stores. H-E-B has a nutritional guide available on their website that provides recipes and nutritional information to shoppers. The store also identifies healthier items with POP materials and shelf tags that distinguish the items that are heart healthy, sugar free, vegan, whole grain and organic, among others.
According to Barry Hogan, Retail Specialist at KDM, many grocery stores are offering cooking classes to shoppers in the store. Shoppers that attend the classes learn how to prepare meals, receive special coupons and even enjoy a glass of wine. This is one way stores are engaging with their customers, providing more value, and giving shoppers a reason to return to the store.
3. The Budget Conscious Consumer
Since the recession of 2008, shoppers are working harder for less money and are focused on stretching every dollar to the max. An infographic created by Dedicated Media titled “How America Grocery Shops” reveals that price is so important to consumers, that 61% are willing to drive farther for a lower price. Many grocery stores are offering loyalty program discounts, mobile coupons and personalized email coupons to win shopper loyalty. When it comes to coupons, 15% of shoppers obtain coupons online and print at home, while only about 4% redeem direct mail coupons. 9% of mobile users are using their phones to find coupons while in store.
There has been substantial and continual growth in the private label brand category. This category has been viewed by consumers as offering similar quality and value at a lesser price. 80% of consumers believe that the quality of private labels is the same or better quality than major brands. The private labels create an opportunity for retailers to differentiate themselves. Kroger’s Simple Truth and Aldi’s Gluten Free brands are examples of healthy private label brands.