In today’s food and retail industries, choices are seemingly endless and several trends are driving the way that consumers purchase and eat food. One trend, healthy eating, continues to be critical to the success of many food retailers and restaurants today. Over time, Americans have become more health conscious than ever and now they expect even grab-and-go meals and snacks to be good for their body. However, as c-stores are making the shift to offer more healthy options for foodservice and snacks, they are finding that not even the “health conscious” customer profile is one-size-fits-all. Now, research has uncovered the differences in the way that the different generations of c-store consumers think about health and healthy eating.
Boomers Care More
A consumer panel study by the International Food Information Council Foundation found that baby boomers tend to be more likely than millennials to include certain foods in their diet because they define them as healthy. This survey also found that boomers are more likely than the general population to define healthy eating by moderation, serving sizes, and portions. While millennials may be driving most of today’s c-store industry trends, there’s no arguing that baby boomers are who owners and operators should pay attention to when refining their healthy product offering.
While baby boomers are more likely to concern themselves with health benefits like weight management, cardiovascular health, and digestive health, millennials have other healthy eating benefits in mind. The IFIC Foundation found that millennials are more likely to seek benefits in mental health, muscle health, and immunity when picking which healthy foods to eat.
Trusting the Professionals
The survey by the IFIC Foundation also found that baby boomers are much more trusting of personal health care professionals and registered dieticians. Millennials, however, are more likely to get their healthy eating and fitness advice from other influencers like fitness professionals, farmers, and bloggers. What seems to be a commonality amongst the two groups is the likelihood to rely on family and friends when making decisions about healthy eating.
Accommodating Both Groups
Although there are some differences between the youngest and oldest generations, catering to either group of consumers shouldn’t be difficult for c-stores. When thinking about your customers and how to provide healthier options, keep in mind that both boomers and millennials are focused on taste and price when making their food choices. As more and more consumers are ditching the sugary sodas and processed junk foods that have typically dominated the c-store industry, they are also becoming more likely to spend a little more money to have access to foods they deem as healthy. No matter what strategy you find fits your c-store’s healthy eating customers, make sure you’re maximizing the convenience. Today’s consumers might be seeking better quality, but they’re definitely not willing to sacrifice the ease of c-store snacking.