Millennials: The generation of change?

There is a growing demand for sustainable food. Terms such as organic, local, natural, hormone-free, and free trade are buzz words in food advertising. Some of these terms may not necessarily mean these items are what you think they are. “Natural” is a term used by marketers to portray ideas about organic and local foods without actually being a local or organic product. But why do marketer’s use terms like ‘natural’? Because there is a target audience out there today called millennials.

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An article on the Public Relations Society of America states, “Technomic, a food-industry research firm, finds that when dining out, millennials place high value on social responsibility, sustainability, and local, organic, grass-fed and hormone-free dishes.” Millennals, the generation in which I happen to fall under, have high levels of education, tend to be single, and are  focused on connections and relationships. Having a connection with your food is becoming more and more popular. Could this mean something good for the sustainable and real food movement?

Logo_staticCompanies like McDonald’s, Gatorade, and Coca-Cola are struggling to reach this audience, while Trader Joe’s, Great Harvest Bread Co., and Chipotle are successfully attracting this group of people through their socially responsible practices and marketing techniques.

Trader Joe’s offer’s quality products, many times organic or local, for a lower price than specialty food stores. Their website includes a product stories section, connecting consumers to the products directly through narrative. I was immediately attracted to the Sriracha Sauce product story as there was a map of Thailand, where I spent four months last year. After the story, Trader Joe’s mentions you can buy the 18.25 ounce bottle for only $2.99. Trader Joe’s website also includes recipes, product guides, and dietary facts as well as a description of their Neighborhood Involvement program. This program is a socially responsible tactic that is sure to attract millennials.

Do these messages work for you? What do you think the millennial generation could do for the real food and sustainable agriculture movement? I think that when consumers start placing quality over quantity is when we will begin to see a change in our food system.

WP 4/19

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