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 of food was a hot industry 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—tracing it back through the supply chain to its origins, knowing what processes it went through, 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 and business owners 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 on the outside to fully view and understand how the entire system functions. This lack of understanding leads to mistrust. Mistrust of large systems is part of what is driving the latest push by millennials and affluent consumers for more labels on food from manufacturers. They have higher standards for safety, processing, labelling and the traceability of food than ever before. 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. Our software solutions provide guidance to producers and suppliers in this age of consumer skepticism.