Garland Perks, The Oppenheimer Group
Garland Perks, The Oppenheimer Group

About half of all millennials are currently parents, and this proportion is forecast to increase exponentially over the next decade.

As this consumer group matures into parenting roles, it is important to investigate their food-related tendencies in order to correctly design and implement efforts for increasing their produce consumption, as well as securing the fruit and vegetable intake of future consumers — their children.

Attributes millennials seek out, such as health and convenience, as a whole do not diminish once these consumers become parents.

In fact, their appeal seems to increase.

Millennials who are new parents pay close attention to their kids’ diet, as well as their own, saying they support the local food movement (52%), search for food items with few ingredients (46%), and buy organic when they’re able to (41%), according to advertising agency Barkley.

They also highly prioritize a work/life balance, and, as a result, food products or meal solutions that are efficient, in addition to providing taste and nutritional benefits, remain attractive.

Back to basics

Other tendencies, such as a willingness to spend money on desirable food items, notably shift compared to their pre-parenting days.

An article in The Fort Mill Times reported that after millennials have kids, a decline in purchasing decisions based on quality occurs while lower price points are increasingly influential, reminiscent of former generations of parents.

Gen Yers are also more likely to plan meals in advance once they have children, and use digital and paper coupons. When they were only shopping for themselves these value options were of lesser interest, as they were more prone to last-minute trips to the store.

Different from their parents’ generation, household responsibilities are more evenly divided between Gen Y mothers and fathers with millennial dads playing a more active role in all household duties including childcare, laundry and cooking.

In fact, according to Barkley, the tendency to grocery shop more than once during the week is nearly equal between millennial moms (78%) and dads (76%).

However, moms in the millennial generation still have marked influence on decisions in their household, as well as others’. Pew Research reports that 50% of Gen Y moms recommend a brand or product at least once a week if not daily, and 21% discuss products with their friends and family members once a week or more.

Tech savvy

A proclivity for going digital also remains consistent with millennial consumers after having children. Interestingly, they continue to be early adopters of technology post-kids, with millennial dads being particularly active on social media.

Millennial moms use devices such as smartphones and tablets for planning meals, shopping and cooking. According to a survey by Allrecipes.com, nearly one third of Gen Y moms use smartphones for their grocery list and 53% use them to find promotions and discounts.

Millennial parents also continue to crave product offerings tailored to their needs. This indicates that engaging with these consumers via social media is paramount for understanding their preferences and providing an opportunity to tell them about unique produce items or to suggest kid-friendly recipe ideas for meals with abundant fruits and vegetables.

Millennial parents are an integral consumer group for the produce industry. Most are relatively new to the parenting game and are still adjusting to a different lifestyle with young children.

As a result, produce successes have the potential to be long-lasting.

Providing reliable preparation methods or substantiating the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, particularly during this pivotal life stage, could ultimately be positive experiences that influence their food-related tendencies, as well as those of their children, long into the future.

Garland Perkins writes a monthly column on the produce industry from the millennial perspective. She works in sales and marketing for The Oppenheimer Group in its Los Angeles office.

garlandperkins@gmail.com

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