By 2018, $65 billion in grocery spending will shift from Boomers to Millennials, according to Barbara Ford, SVP of AMG Strategic Advisors, the research and consulting arm of Acosta Sales & Marketing.
In two separate presentations, Ford discussed what to expect from Gen Y when it comes to meat purchases.
There are some positive indicators for meat and poultry. Compared with last year, Millennials and customers with kids are shopping more frequently in the meat department. However, they are not as brand loyal as their Boomer parents and have no problem shopping for meat at mass merchandisers or other non-grocery retail outlets.
“Millennials shop differently than older consumers. They’re less brand loyal because they’re still making loyalty decisions,” said Ford.
When it comes to prepackaged meat, factors like taste and flavor, ingredients and a lack of preservatives are more important to Millennials than price or the type of meat. Attributes like “grass fed,” “local” or “organic” help provide an emotional connection, said Ford.
“For Millennials, food quality goes beyond just the taste and the visual appeal. They’re really interested in social responsibility, sustainability, is it local, is it organic, grass fed, hormone free. Support for local community activity and things related to the environment,” said Ford.
“They’re looking for that sort of label of assurance that the place I’m going cares about where they’re sourcing their ingredients and where they’re sourcing their foods,” she added.
Gen Y is significantly less confident than other age groups at preparing fresh meat and poultry. While Millennials know how to prepare ground beef and chicken breast, they aren’t confident when it comes to pork chops, whole chicken, steak and many other cuts of meat.
Millennials are also among the least likely to cook at home.
“Now some of that could be life stage, and maybe they’ll get into it, but maybe part of our responsibility is to make sure they do get into that phase and appreciate the value of cooking and eating at home,” said Ford.
Perhaps because they don’t cook as often, there is a trade-off for Millennials between price and convenience.
“They are very price conscious but they’re willing to pay up,” said Ford.
The words Millennials use most often to describe how they feel about their food shopping experience are “annoyed” and “stressed.” Retailers must come up with ways to engage Gen Y.
“They’re experience oriented. They love the experience, something that they can Tweet about, send out, talk to others about,” said Ford.
Editor's note: This blog post has been updated with further information.