There is a growing movement of consumers demanding information on how their food is produced, including affluent American consumers, millennials, and the European market. I recently returned from a trip to Austria where traceability was a hot topic because locals wanted to support local farmers and wanted labeling identifying which region (and even which farm) where their food was produced.
Millennials especially care about where their food comes from. They are more interested in having a relationship with their food, knowing how it was produced, and having the information necessary to make an informed decision.
“Every part of a brand’s personality needs to come across as being genuine, real, and connected to the same things that millennials are interested in,” explains Norty Cohen, founder and CEO of digital ad firm Moosylvania.
A recent study on millennials by the Pew Research Center reports this generation is less trusting than older Americans—with just 19% saying that most people can be trusted, compared to 31% of Gen Xers and 40% of Baby Boomers. That more cautious attitude can also extend to brands. Cohen says marketers can break down the barriers through real connections. “They know when they’re being marketed to and when they’re being friended,” Cohen says. “Millennials will often stay loyal to brands that aren’t necessarily the most famous but brands that connect to them. If you’re able to cross the friendship line, the brand affinity is tremendous.”
Americans in general have grown uneasy with large systems that they don’t understand. You can see this unease in the increased use of the terms “big government,” “big pharma,” and “big agra.”
These large systems evolved as populations exploded and technology advanced during the last century. These “big” systems are able to feed and provide services to larger populations using fewer resources than ever before. These systems are necessary for a modern society.
However, these systems are so big and so complex that it is impossible for anyone outside these systems to fully understand how they function. This lack of understanding leads to mistrust. Mistrust of large systems is part of what is driving millennials and affluent consumers to push for more labels on food. More millennials are interested in cooking their own meals. They are more apt to visit farmers markets or grow their own herbs and vegetables.
With this feeling of mistrust permeating the market, how can global food manufactures build trust and brand loyalty amongst these growing, affluent consumer groups? Come back next month to learn how manufacturing technology can empower your company to better communicate to these growing consumer groups.
CAT Squared Marketing Manager
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