Weekends mean catching up on errands, which often include a trip to the local grocery store. While this may have been considered a daunting task in the past, today it's actually a pleasure, especially for millennials.
A grocery trip is the initial step of what will be the outcome of a great meal. Turns outs, this generation loves to cook. A whopping 65 per cent of millennials love to cook and consider themselves experts in the kitchen. And 86 per cent enjoy experimenting with new recipes.
A closer look at these stats also means taking a look at food shopping habits. In an article published in the Washington Post, the findings of a research report from the Food Marketing Institute revealed some interesting facts. The findings included how various generations make their shopping lists, which revealed that millennials have a very different approach to shopping compared to other generations.
Millennials like to build their shopping trips around a particular recipe, rather than simply restocking their pantry. They also place less emphasis on discounts when menu planning compared to other generations.
Millennials are changing the way we all grocery shop.
This generation is paving the way for both small and large grocery chains and independent stores to diversify what's in-store and the overall experience grocery stores provide. Remember, this is a generation that puts great emphasis on experiences, especially ones that truly resonate with them.
There are certain things that millennials look for and want in a grocery store. As this article points out, some of these include some interesting things, including smartphone holders on carts, more in-store food samples and a mood-setting ambiance of great music and lighting.
The Food Movement
Another change we've been seeing in grocery stores, thanks in much part to millennials, is the type of food available. According to a Forbes article about millennials changing food as we know it, millennials not only want, but also are willing to pay for fresh and healthy food and will go to great lengths to find a grocery store that provides just that.
The article points out millennials are very much in tune with what is being dubbed the "food movement" which includes a love for things like organic farms produce and artisanal cheese. Some other interesting facts related to grocery shopping addressed in the Forbes piece is that millennials have less brand loyalty and are more willing to look outside the traditional grocery store to find what they're looking for. Millennials are also more willing to pay for specific attributes in food, such as gluten-free, natural, ethnic and specialty food.
A significant difference seen in grocery stores in the past few years has also been the amount and variety of exotic foods available. Walk into any grocery store today and you're bound to find an "ethnic food" isle. The millennial consumers are in search for cultural diversity when it comes to food. This can closely be related to their zest for travel and adventure. This group loves to travel. An exotic dish had on the other side of the world is something they want to emulate at home.
Grocery stores today are providing them the opportunity to do so by making certain food and ingredients readily available. In addition to cultural flair, millennials also prefer grocery stores that provide larger fresh produce sections rather than convenience sections. As this Mintel study points out, 57 per cent of millennials said they only shop the fresh sections of grocery stores compared to 30 per cent of non-millennials. The study also revealed that millennials are more likely to avoid buying processed foods.
When it comes down to it, millennials are without doubt huge foodies.
This generation's fascination with food, whether it's dining out or cooking at home, can be attributed to a few key things. One of these is the power technology has with this generation. In the highly digital society we live in and millennials thrive in, their obsession with food can be linked to social media.
In an interview with a food expert and author published in The Atlantic, author Eve Turow points out a very interesting fact: one look at social media -- Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook -- and food boards continue to be the most popular boards across all platforms. She also points out one website, Foodporn.com, where one can look at food all day long.
Grocery stores hoping to attract millennials and turn them into loyal and long-lasting customers need to connect directly with them. This is a generation that needs to be pulled in creatively. Spark their interest once, and they'll likely be back for more.
Grocers can connect with millennials in several ways, and many are already doing so successfully. Offering mobile-friendly promotions, personal recommendations and complimentary recipes via email, and in-store experiences are just some of the few techniques grocers are using to draw in their new clientele.
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Shopping starts long before you leave the house. Check the fridge, freezer and cupboards, then draw up a list of all the meals you plan to make and eat during the week (making sure you include any leftover perishables in those meals). That'll tell you exactly what you need to buy. This isn't everyone's favourite activity, but you'll be astonished how much less you buy - and crucially how much less you end up throwing away. This process typically cuts 5% off your grocery bill.
Supermarkets are entirely designed to make you do this, with flashy displays at the door, and discounts heaped high on the end of each aisle (they're put here because they know it takes a while to turn your trolley so they have longer to catch your eye). There will be new products and special offers which will sorely tempt you, but everything extra you buy will mean you either eat more or have more to throw away more at the end of the week.
There are three levels of products: the branded ones (including the premium supermarket ranges), the own-brands, and the own-brand value range. The best way to shift down is to move down one rung of the ladder on everything you buy - so if you usually buy branded baked beans go for own-brand, and if you usually buy own-brand, go for the value own-brand.
Most people choose a supermarket out of either convenience or habit. However, switching to a cheaper supermarket could be the easiest way to save. No one supermarket is cheaper for everything across the board. However, as a very rough rule of thumb Asda is the cheapest of the big players - it regularly wins awards for this (and did so last year), and it also has a pledge, which promises that the items you pick that are part of its scheme will be 10% cheaper than elsewhere or you can claim the difference. If you are willing to go beyond the big players, the discounters are substantially cheaper, so it's worth trying Aldi or Lidl to see what you could save.
Of course, no supermarket is cheaper for absolutely everything. And in some instances the supermarket is not the cheapest place for your food - local markets for example can offer much cheaper fruit and vegetables. You'll need to get to know your local independents, but the best way of being sure of getting a good deal at the supermarkets is to do your research before you go. Mysupermarket.co.uk lets you compare prices for Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Aldi and Ocado. You'll need to put your shopping list into the site, which is a bit time-consuming the first time you do it but gets quicker once you have saved your favourites. It will tell you the cheapest places for your shopping - leaving you to choose whether to make more than one trip or to go with the supermarket that is cheapest for the most of your items.
There's definitely a right and wrong way to do this. The right way is to search for vouchers, coupons and deals for things you already need to buy. Alternatively, you can keep an eye out for BOGOF deals on things you regularly use (as long as they aren't perishable), and stock up on them. This can be useful for things like toiletries - just don't be tempted to switch to a more expensive brand in order to do this unless you have checked that the deal constitutes a saving from your usual brand at its usual price.
Supermarket deals are not simple to compare, so you could easily find yourself trying to work out if 350ml of something at 58p is cheaper or more expensive than 250ml of something at 46p. For most people this isn't the kind of maths that's easy to do on the fly. The only solution is to take a calculator and work it out - unless you want to focus on building world-class mental arithmetic skills.
Your careful list-making will not always go to plan, so if you end up eating something different one night, think about what you will do with the food you had planned to eat. Can you cook it and freeze it? Can you substitute it for another meal? Likewise with the leftovers, have you factored these into your eating plan? Or will you need to freeze it for next week?
This is classic advice for a reason. Research has shown that if we eat before we go we buy 18% less food. So have a sandwich and shave almost 20% off your bill.
If you are good at managing your credit cards, then shopping using a cashback card can be a great way to earn back money on your shopping. It's worth emphasising that in order for this to be a money-spinner you'll need to pay it off in full and on time every month. However, this is something that disciplined shoppers should definitely consider.
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