11 1. Millennials are a social generation – and they choose and consume your products socially. Millennials are a sociable generation, online and off. This social inclination has big implications for those of us who serve customers. “A shopping habit that sets millennials apart from non-millennials is their tendency to shop in groups and seek the opinions of others”, says market UHVHDUFKHU-HII)URPP0RUHWKDQWZRWKLUGVRIPLOOHQQLDOV won’t make a major decision until they have discussed it with a few people they trust, compared with around half of all non-millennials. Seventy percent of millennials, continues Fromm, are “more excited about a decision they’ve made when their friends agree with them, compared to 48 percent of non-millennials.” Millennials don’t consume food, beverages, services, products or media in silence. They eat noisily (so to speak) and very visually. They review, blog, tweet, and post to Instagram; they update brands’ Wikipedia entries; and they post YLGHRUHYLHZVDVFRQVXPHUVRQ<RX7XEH 2. Millennials apply their values to how and what they buy. Millennials are a values-driven generation. More millennials than non-millennials integrate their ethical and political beliefs into their purchasing decisions. More than 50 percent of millennials make an effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about. They are interested in the social values of any company they purchase from: its social responsibility, sustainability, and ethics in treating employees and suppliers. In particular relation to food, many millennials are concerned about: Animal well-being in dairy, egg, and meat production Environmental sustainability, including marine sustainability, concern for vanishing terrestrial habit for wildlife, and climate change concerns Organic food production: They’re twice as likely as their non-millennial counterparts to care whether the food they eat is organic A variety of dietary beliefs and practices, from gluten-, soy-, and wheat-avoidance to veganism Local sourcing of produce and other foodstuffs Support for small farmers, brewers, and other locally- based producers 3. Authenticity and “terroir” are essential parts of the millennial view of the world and directly affect their behavior as consumers. $XWKHQWLFLW\LVDFRQFHSWWKDW¶VKDUGWRGH¿QHEXWPLOOHQQLDOV know it when they see it: for example, venerable brands like Tabasco that are seen as being truly original, as in “the original in this category”, as well as newer brands that also strike millennials as authentic: for example, the craft brewery on the corner. Transparency is a corporate attribute that millennials particularly feel indicates authenticity. Applegate, a successful purveyor of humanely-raised and slaughtered meats, even employs a transparent approach to customer service, making use of a community software SODWIRUPFDOOHG³*HW6DWLVIDFWLRQ´$SSOHJDWHUHJXODUO\¿HOGV VSHFL¿FGHWDLOHGDQGHPRWLRQDOO\FKDUJHGTXHVWLRQVDERXW both its meat and the packaging in which it is conveyed. Rather than solely rely on its employees to answer these questions, Applegate openly crowdsources commentary and advice from other customers to answer these questions honestly. By using the feedback from customers who have already explored these kinds of questions, Applegate is making transparency work in its favor, elevating the customer and its products at the same time. Another element that decides whether a brand or product (particularly but not exclusively in the food industry) is considered authentic by millennials is “terroir”. Terroir is the French term for the convergence of factors – geography, climate, and so forth – that go into making local wine or produce, and the concept is applicable in broader contexts as well. Terroir explains the appeal, for example, of a restaurant that cultivates its own honeybee hives on the roof, then incorporates the resulting honey into items on the menu. It HSODLQVZK\WKH¿YHVWDU%OHXUHVWDXUDQWLQ,VWDQEXOKDV found so much support among youthful diners by cultivating heirloom tomatoes right on their patio so that a guest can have a tomato that is less than 15 minutes from vine to table. It explains why the top companies in technology, from Google to LinkedIn to Oracle, have engaged the Bon Appétit company to feed their employees in company cafés: Bon Appétit is notable for its local sourcing and menu variability that SURYLGHDVSHFL¿FVHQVHRIWHUURLUDWHDFKRIWKHVHIDPRXV technology campuses. And, more broadly, terroir explains the “go-local” buying commitment that many millennial shoppers strive to adhere to, whether at the supermarket or the farmer’s market. Adapting to any new group of consumers isn’t easy. In the case of millennials, it’s essential, for your business to con- WLQXHWRWKULYH'HYHORSDQGUH¿QHDQDSSURDFKWRPHHWLQJ these three principles of the millennial mindset, and you’ll be well on your way.
AAK Insight no 4 2017
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