29% of Millenials say they are “very willing” to pay a premium price for foods they consider healthier, and their trends in spending support this figure. That percentage is higher than any other generation and something that brands should pay attention to when marketing healthy food.
So, marketers in the food and beverage industry have an interesting opportunity to provide healthier options at a higher price and gain Millennial support.
Besides being important in sheer numbers, Millennials tend to take action. Which is why they have become the focus of countless marketing campaigns. They’re a generation of “do-ers” – if they say something, they mean it.
Chipotle is one of the most “It” brands of today to really cash in on this phenomenon of Millennial willing to pay more for higher quality food. The franchise has become a Millennial hotspot, largely due to its widely advertised focus on better quality ingredients. Chipotle is so focused on keeping these youngsters around that they are even willing to take a short-term pay cut in order to prove to Millennials that they mean business in their quest for purity.
For example, Chipotle faced a pork shortage at hundreds of restaurants because it suspended a supplier that violated its strict health standards. And recently, they’ve made good on a promise to eliminate all GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) from their menus. This came after studies showed GMOs to be the number one food concern for consumers, ranking ahead of even calorie count and artificial ingredients. Chipotle now stands behind catchy taglines like “ G-M-Over It” to celebrate the healthy changes. That’s marketing healthy food done right.
Other marketers are following suit. In the same month as Chipotle, grocer Whole Foods announced it would require all U.S and Canadian stores to label products that contain GMOs, in effect 2018. This no doubt will affect consumer behavior in-store, especially Millennials, who have proven hesitant to buy products with GMOs and “very willing” to pay more for food that’s better for them.
It’s tactics like Chipotle and Whole Foods are taking on that earn big companies Millennial trust. Which ultimately gains these companies Millennial dollars. Products claiming to be “all natural” have enjoyed 24% sales growth over the past two years and organic products have seen a 28% sales growth over that same period. If marketers act, Millennials will too.
But transparency is vital, because this generation won’t stand for false promises. To get an “in” with them, brands need to talk the talk. To keep the relationship, brands need to make like a Millennial and walk the walk. Otherwise, there will always be another “do-er” brand they can turn to. And they won’t hesitate.
Overall, the marketing message to brands is pretty simple. Think healthy when you’re ideating. Advertise healthy when you’re executing. Be healthy through it all. Make marketing healthy food great again.