Specialty Food Magazine

SUMMER 2015

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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FROM THE PUBLISHER The Millennial (and Beyond) Playbook HAVE A COMMENT? Visit specialtyfood.com/ ccrocker/millennial C onsumers born from the 1980s to the early 2000s are in the crosshairs for food marketers, for good reason: millennials, who make up the lion's share of this group, spend proportion- ately more on food than other generations, and are expected to outspend baby boomers by 2017. Following closely at their heels is generation Z, born starting around 1995. These consumers are just coming of age with their own buying power, and we already know they share millenials' unprecedented exposure to and demand for better-quality foods. It's clear that this ingredient-conscious, craft-inspired, sustainability-motivated, experiential population is driving change in the industry. Because of this, they've also become one of the most objectified groups of our era. With a radar for the authentic versus the contrived, this consumer is wise to the ways CPG companies have at- tempted to remain relevant. Here are a few tidbits from the CPG playbook: • Phase One: Call your mass-produced product "artisan." Present factory workers as craftspeople and factory farm- ers as homesteaders. • Phase Two: Uncover a new origin story that doesn't involve elves or leprechauns. If you're stuck with the elves, make them ironic. • Phase Three: Clean up ingredient deck if possible. If not, use inf luence to secretly fight transparency movements. • Phase Four: Recognizing your company is too big to in- Chris Crocker Senior Vice President, Content & Media ccrocker@specialtyfood.com novate, purchase a promising specialty brand and in- tegrate it into your business. Dump the brand when it fails. Repeat. • Phase Five: Keep ownership under wraps so people won't know the founders sold their souls. Keep the founders on the payroll to make public appearances. I don't have a lot of hope for big-brand companies that chase young consumers, but I am excited about what the growth of this food-centric population means for spe- cialty food producers, retailers, and consumers. Specialty foods already ref lect the sensibilities of the young consumer. Taste, experience, authenticity, innova- tion, and quality ingredients are standards of the field. Many—if not most—producers are well-positioned to engage this group with new and existing offerings. Lever- aging well-worn and alternative paths to market, millen- nials, themselves, are bringing freshly conceived products that fit their own values and tastes to bear. These are heady times for specialty foods. Be ready. Be agile. And welcome these entrepreneurs as they continue to emerge. Learn more about generational preferences at the seminar, Beyond the Millennials: Generational Differences and the Future of Specialty Food Tuesday, June 30, 9–10 a.m. Also available for download after the show in the Knowledge Center on specialtyfood.com. SUMMER 2015 5

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