SugarCreek: Brandworthy Food Solutions

Price or Brand Name: Which Holds Greater Value for Grocery Shoppers?

Posted by SugarCreek

Apr 30, 2015 2:30:00 PM

9359225_sIf it's Libby's Libby's Libby's on the label label label you will like it like it like it on your table table table.

There's always room for Jell-O.

Ask any mermaid you happen to see. What’s the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea.

Remember the great, old food brand slogans? It used to be that a catchy slogan, a slick branding campaign, and the occasional Sunday coupon could sway the American grocery shopper and keep products flying off the shelves.

But are the days of the food ad going the way of Fruit Brute cereal? If Millennials have any say about it (and, hint: they do), food brands will need to make quite a bit more effort to stay top of mind. Young adults today are considerably price-conscious; moreover, they love to try new things. Food brand loyalty isn't something you can secure with a slogan anymore. Food companies today need to work hard to find the sweet spot between value and brand narrative.

The Evidence?

According to GroceryHeadquarters, a new industry study has indicated that the majority of Millennials will readily substitute another product or brand when they can't locate a particular national food brand on a store's shelf.

So, for example, if a young adult goes into a grocery looking for Peet's Coffee, but the grocery store is out of it, or isn't carrying it, a young adult is not likely to leave the store and find it elsewhere, but will simply pick up either a different name brand (i.e., Starbucks) or a generic or store-label bag of coffee. Only one in ten Millennials, the website reported, will actually leave the store and shop elsewhere for the food product of original intent.


For one, Millennials can be… well… kind of lazy. Why search all over town when something nearly as good, or at least of passable quality, is available right now?

But beyond the convenience factor, there's value. GroceryHeadquarters found that most young adults regularly purchase store-label or generic products. Seventy-one percent of them stated that value is their main reason for doing so.

Food brand loyalty among Millennials is trumped by the almighty dollar—and given the tough job market, crushing student loan debt and other financial pressures many young American consumers face, such a tendency is easy to understand.

How Are Grocery Stores Responding To The Millennial Shopper?

Many are increasing their selections of organic and natural food products. Some, like national retailer Kroger, have experimented with doing away with "natural food aisles" and are instead beginning to mix natural foods in with mainstream items in the regular aisles at select locations. Other grocers have gone the other way—expanding their natural food aisles and positioning them prominently within the store.

Other grocers—Target, for example—are finding that limited selection doesn't sit well with the Millennial consumer. Target launched grocery sales in 2008 in an effort to expand its appeal to busy one-stop shoppers. Unfortunately, its grocery sales have not lived up to the company's hopes, and in the wake of its Black Friday data breach scandal and falling revenues, the chain realized it needed to step up its grocery game fast.

After a consumer survey showed that just 18 percent of its customers felt like Target's brand selection matched up well with their expectations, the chain announced that it would begin re-tooling its grocery selection and in-store displays to better play to its critical demographic — young adults.

Target's plan includes focusing less on older food brands and mainstream staples; it will add more organic and gluten-free foods to its shelve this year. It will also stock more produce, fresh meat, granola, yogurt and bagged coffee—all hot products with the Millennial set.

The Average Grocery Shopper Today Isn't Looking To Stock A Pantry

Millennials are spur-of-the-moment, on-the-go, experimental eaters. They want convenience, healthy food, a large array of food choices, an exotic palette and, above all, value. That's easy to do, right?

OK, so it's a tall order. Nevertheless, that's the demographic's mindset. If you want to appeal to young consumers today, you need to balance value pricing with deep selection.



Written by: SugarCreek

Sugar Creek prides itself on its authentic culinary expertise. With nearly 50 years in the food manufacturing business, we know what Americans want to eat.

Topics: Millennial Consumers, Retail