Today’s consumers are demanding transparency. In response to this demand, more manufacturers are opting to share information with them, detailing everything from where a product is sourced to how it is prepared. But new research shows this might not be enough as many consumers—particularly the younger generation—remain skeptical and want larger food and beverage companies to be more forthright about their products.
According to a recent study from Mintel, more than two in five US Millennials, or 43 percent, do not trust large food manufacturers compared to 18 percent of non-Millennials. Similarly, nearly three quarters (74 percent) of Millennials wish food companies were more transparent about how they manufacture their products (compared to 69 percent of non-Millennials).
Millennials, defined as adults age 21-38, are more likely to state the retailer and brand are important food purchase factors than non-Millennials , who are defined as adults age 18-20 and 39 and older. According to the researchers, the study showed 59 percent of Millennials will stop buying a certain brand’s products if they believe the brand is unethical, while 58 percent of Millennials say where you buy your groceries reflects your personal values compared to 28 percent of non-Millennials.
Millennials tend to prefer specialty stores over traditional grocery stores, and nearly three in five say they only shop the fresh sections when food shopping. Mintel says this falls in line with the generation’s increased likelihood to avoid processed foods and openness toward new diets that promote a greater focus on health.
“Millennials are different than prior generations and are taking a proactive approach with their health. This impacts their food shopping behaviors, product preferences and the brands they support,” says Amanda Topper, food analyst at Mintel. “With growing distrust and a greater desire for transparency from food manufacturers, Millennials want brands to form a genuine, authentic connection with them. Brands should recognize the impact Millennials have on their businesses.”
While Mintel research shows 94 percent of Americans snack daily, Millennials are taking it a step further, with 52 percent preferring a snack instead of a traditional meal. Research shows Millennials seek foods that will keep them full and energized and are convenient and fun to eat.
Millennials also consider themselves to be foodies (62 percent) and are likely to value premium ingredients and higher-quality food offerings. Millennials are willing to splurge on locally produced foods with high-quality ingredients; half of them say it is important to make food purchases that fit within their budget compared to 61 percent of non-Millennials.
Overall, 31 percent of consumers made a grocery purchase online in 2015, up from 19 percent in 2014; 39 percent of Millennials report primarily buying their groceries online. “While online grocery shopping has yet to be widely adopted, it is gaining momentum among Millennial shoppers, America’s largest demographic,” Topper says. “Assisted by their familiarity with technology and the disinterest many Millennial consumers express with traditional grocery stores, our research indicates there is future value in the online grocery channel. Retailers and manufacturers that establish a genuine and authentic relationship, and offer online experiences that improve convenience and product variety, will be in prime position to attract Millennial shoppers moving forward.”