Monday, May 8, 2017

Millennials Drive Grocerant Growth

Foodservice Solutions® team is continually asked who is driving the unprecedented growth in Grocerant Niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared adoption. Regular readers of this blog know the answer is Millennials.   Consumer trend adoption is driven by those looking for food discovery particularly Millennials (born 1980 and 2000) specifically complexity free food and new avenues of distribution.

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson identified, quantified, and qualified the attributes that Millennials were looking for they are convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?
Complexity free food “Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat as most of you know by now.  The underlying commonality is portability. That quest for discovery is found in 33% of Millennials as they order something different every time they visit a foodservice establishment.  That is why restaurant Limited Time Offers (LTO’s) are such a positive marketing tool in the chain restaurant marketer’s tool kit.

In a recent report buy-Pulse examining dining experiences of Millennial consumers and what drives the same consumer to very different types of food experiences  found:

Influential Foodie Culture. Today’s food-centric culture has given rise to fancy food emporiums and food festivals that offer fully immersive experiences. Young consumers are pushing this trend forward with 71% of Millennials saying they enjoy attending food-focused events and 81% stating that they enjoy exploring new cultures through food. C-store operators will see a continuation of this trend, both in dining experience and innovation in flavors.

Memorable Tasting Experiences. Memorable food experiences drive today’s dining decisions and young consumers are going to continue to accelerate this trend. For example, 48% of young consumers surveyed say they seek out restaurants run by critically-acclaimed chefs and 69% said they love restaurants with chef’s tasting menus. Sixty-one percent of consumers surveyed wished they could dine on more foods that remind them of their grandmothers’ cooking and 69% wished for foods that remind them of their childhoods. Whether they target the nostalgia or provide sophisticated tasting adventures, c-store operators need to aim for “unforgettable” foodservice experiences.

Speed Versus Savoring. Conveniently packaged food is important to younger consumers, as 48% of them say they prefer eating meals on-the-go and 44% say that convenience is more important than cuisine. In the future, foodservice menus will need to expand, or give special attention, to their grab-and-go offerings.

Food Trust. Consumers of all ages wish to establish trust with food providers, and young consumers are expected to continue this trend in future years. Sixty-eight percent of Millennial consumers prefer local sourcing of ingredients and 66% of them are willing to pay a little more for food that comes from local producers. This provides convenience stores with a great opportunity to advertise that they use locally-grown produce or that they make their bread fresh in-store daily.

High Expectations. Today’s consumers want it all and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. For example, 67% Millennial consumers said they love ordering healthy options offered at restaurants and convenience stores. Yet, 63% of Millennial consumers also say they prefer “over-the-top” menu items. C-stores must not be afraid to be innovative. Poll your consumers locally and ask them directly what they like, and react accordingly. This doesn’t require making massive changes. Oftentimes, it’s a few tweaks to an existing menu that can have a big impact on sales.

Menu Diversification The trend of diversifying the menu is one that cannot be overstated. While the Y-Pulse study emphasized the Millennial generation, The NPD Group, a global foodservice consulting group, urged that foodservice traffic will remain consistent in 2017, but the key to driving new business will be differentiation.

Foodservice Solutions® team askes are you edifying customer relevance into your brand driving top lines sales, bottom line profits while garnering incremental year over year same store sales customer counts?

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information. 

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