Millennials Send Wake-Up Call to Food and Beverage Industry

November 6th, 2015 Posted by brand marketing, Brand preference, Insight, shopper behavior, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Millennials Send Wake-Up Call to Food and Beverage Industry”

Trust Transcends Everything.

Millennials Send Wake-Up Call to Food and Beverage Industry

A sobering, directional study from Mintel again confirms that trust issues drive purchase and govern brand relationships – retail or product – for the influential Millennial generation.

Mintel’s report demonstrates the fracture in legacy food brand equity formerly considered ‘grandfathered’ and passed down from previous generations:

  • Two in five Millennials don’t trust large food manufacturers.
  • 74 percent wish food companies were more transparent about how they make their products.

The root meaning of the data in Mintel’s research informs the narrative: your corporate mission and purpose, your operating processes and principles, how you behave as an organization is irrevocably married to purchase criteria and brand preference.

According to Mintel food analyst Andrea Topper’s recent interview with Marketing Daily, what’s lurking behind this shift is the ‘proactive’ approach Millennials take with their health and well-being. This focus impacts shopping behaviors and brand selections because – and here’s the insight – the retail and purchase choice is actually symbolic for their lifestyle beliefs and priorities.

Thus, purchase is a reflection of how Millennials (and we posit, most people these days) want the world to see them.

“Millennials cite high quality ingredients as the most influential factor when shopping for retail food,” said Topper to Marketing Daily. “Promoting natural ingredients (as well as) greater transparency in product labeling” is an important component in securing trust.

Topper went on to say that brand choices are really extensions of themselves and a path for Millennials to express who they are. As such, brands should think through how to connect and engage in ways relevant to their own identity coupled with a tangible move to align with the passions and values they care about.

Insights from the Mintel study that are currently influencing food and beverage, include:

  • 59 percent of Millennials will stop purchasing a brand if they believe the company is unethical.
  • 58 percent agree that where you buy your groceries is a reflection of your personal values.
  • Almost three in five say they shop the fresh (perimeter) sections of the grocery store exclusively.
  • 58 percent show increased likelihood they will avoid buying overly processed foods.
  • 52 percent are likely to agree that traditional grocery stores are not as appealing as specialty stores – a reflection of their ‘foodie’ mentality.

Trust and relevance become over-arching factors that stand ahead of other considerations in building brand and retail relationships that resonate with the Millennial mentality – now and for years to come. Emergent’s Validation Marketing™ model was developed around this understanding and informs the steps to optimize marketing and business strategy in light of these important revelations.

Simply stated, Validation Marketing is a trust creation engine. Trust is the fuel that will drive brand growth and value propositions in the years ahead.


Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent Healthy Living. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies.  Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for  higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact [email protected] and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

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