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Millennials are overtaking Baby Boomers as the most signifcant influencer of shopper behavior, particularly in the fresh perimeter categories.
This revelation, part of Laurie Demeritt's presentation of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association's 2014 study, "Engaging the Evolving Appetite: Serving the New American Appetite," was among the sessions that led off the opening morning of the IDDBA's annual show in Denver on Sunday.
Millennials shop more fresh perimeter categories, using these departments to meet their everyday needs, rather than only for special occasions, revealed Demeritt, CEO of the Hartman Group, which fielded the study for IDDBA.
In fact, 74 percent of Millennials (age 18-35) surveyed shop the deli at least monthly, compared to 60 percent of Boomers, while 70 percent of Millennials buy fresh prepared foods with the same frequency, vs. 51 percent of Boomers.
The results are a double-edged sword, however, as data revealed that fresh perimeter departments can drive store preferences as well as store migration. For example, 46 percent of Millennials will leave their primary store for a preferred store to buy fresh prepared foods, versus 35 percent of Boomers.
Meanwhile, study data suggests that a digital strategy focused on inforamtion about healthy eating and inspiration for food ideas is more appealing to shoppers than just coupons and deals. Millennials do look online for coupons, but also for new product information and peer reviews, Demeritt noted. Plus, the group uses smartphones most often to reach out to family friends for their input on products.
The final report, which surveyed 850 adults online, is due out later in the year.
Also on Sunday morning, The NPD Group's Harry Balzer shared the research firm's latest data on American eating trends. Among them:
- 10 categories account for 50 percent of the American diet. Leading the pack is sandwiches, holding that spot for at least 10 years.
- Of the 10 fastest-growing restaurants, four are sandwich shops, which Balzer characterized as assemblers of fresh ingredients, remarking, "I see the restaurant industry getting into the supermarker business."
- The slow cooker is the only cooking appliance being used significantly more now than 30 years ago.
- People aren't really snacking more, but they're using snacks as meals more often.
- Yogurt, bottled water and pizza have had the most increased use in the past 10 years. Those most in decline: rolls, spaghetti and gelatin.
- The gluten-free trend has peaked, Balzer said: "I think this one's over."
Rounding out the morning's speakers were celebrity chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay; Capt. Richard Phillips, discussing leadership in the context of his experience encountering Somali pirates on the high seas; and Peter Diamandis, arguing that innovative thought has to keep better pace with exponentially expanding technology.
On the Floor
The expo floor presented a dizzying array of foods in the dairy, deli and bakery categories, along with associated equipment and services. Among those encountered on this first show day:
- New Wisconsin cheeses, including many aged varieties and a growing number of pepper-spiked cheeses including habanero, chipotle and others in jack and pepper varieties.
- Refrigerated ready meals from Bemis, utilizing a proprietary microwave steam pasteurization process that whistles when ready.
- Pretzel croissants from Lantmannen
- Anti-fog packaging for cold-case grab-and-go items from Anchor Packaging.
- Popped edamame snack chips from TH Foods' Crunchmaster brand.
- Non-rBST labeling and Kosher certification for cheeses from Cacique, which also displayed healthy fruit smoothies and bottled horchata.
- A smoothie solution for in-store beverage bars from Beverage Emporium.
- New oven-ready garlic knots from Stefano Foods.
- Snap-shut tamper-evident packaging for fresh-cut fruit and veggies, VersaLock, from D&W, using a process that eliminates the shrink band that requires heat that's damaging to fresh contents.
- A small-tab version of Sealed Air's Grip to Tear packaging, for smaller-sized products like packs of sausages and random-weight cheeses, plus a version of the company's Oven Ease ovenable packaging for beef and pork aimed at prep by the deli rotisserie.
- Dessert mixes, flavor compounts, fillings and sauces for in-store bakeries from PreGel America.
- Seasonable spreadable cheeses from Alouette: Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry Apple Spice and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake.
- A host of new packaged and bulk deli items from Reser's, including Loaded Potato Salad, BBQ Smokehouse Beans, Buttermilk & Chives Mashed Potatoes, baked brie, bread bowl dips and cheese balls.
More session and show floor coverage coming tomorrow ... watch for my latest updates on Twitter @jimdudlicek