Key Millennial Shopping and Dining Trends and What they Mean for Grocery Retailers

According to the Millennial Disruption Index, Generation Y is poised to seriously disrupt how the household goods category (which includes groceries) does business. In fact, only the banking industry is at greater risk! “Millennials …” the Index reports, “… use technology, collaboration and entrepreneurship to create, transform and reconstruct entire industries. As consumers, their expectations are radically different than any generation before them.”

You can find a plethora of marketing research that focuses on the approximately 80 million millennials and their buying habits. Their potential impact on all aspects of the food industry can’t be understated, it seems. In fact, MillennialMarketing.com says “Millennial foodies are literally the ‘tastemakers’ when it comes to what we put in our mouths, where we buy it and how we want it packaged.”

Here are some millennial shopping and dining trends that have implications for grocery retailers and suppliers:

Snack time!

Generation Y is into smaller portions and replacing three big meals a day with more frequent and manageable (but nutritious) snacks. One widely reported statistic, attributed to trend watchers, is that more than a third of all “meals” eaten by millennials are actually snacks.

Adventure time!

Compared to older generations, millennials are much more likely to try new things, and not only that, they’re more likely to seek out new food experiences. According to research organization the Hartman Group, 40 percent of millennials say they enjoy trying new kinds of ethnic cuisines or “anything new and different.”

Better-for-me foods

Millennials seek out food that is fresh and wholesome. Their pantries are less likely to be filled with boxed foods, and much of their shopping is done spur-of-the-moment. But their need for speed isn’t hampering their desire for food they perceive as being better for them, including such options as organic, gluten-free or in keeping with the dietary trend of the moment (like the Paleo diet).

Saving the world one snack at a time

Multiple studies have explored the millennial demand for authenticity, ethical behavior and eco-awareness from the brands they do business with. Millennials don’t just want a great meal, they want food that’s going to have a minimal negative impact on the environment, they want to know it’s been sustainably sourced and produced, and they want a short ingredients list that emphasizes freshness and quality with minimal preservatives.

Putting it all together for you

What do these key millennial food trends mean for grocery retailers and suppliers? All will need to be more aware of the source of the foods they sell — millennials want to be able to feel good about where their food came from and to know that it was eco-friendly on its way to their supermarket. It will be more important than ever to find responsible, sustainable ways to transport and store food. What’s more, you need to ensure the specialty foods millennials crave remain fresh, secure and in good condition through every stage of the supply chain.

That’s where we come in. Reusable containers mesh perfectly with the millennial demand for freshness, variety, quality and environmental responsibility. RPCs offer a more eco-friendly, socially and environmentally responsible way for grocery suppliers and retailers to package, move and display a wide range of perishable food items.