05/19/2016 11:46 EDT | Updated 05/20/2017 05:12 EDT

Millennial Foodies Hunger For A Non-Traditional Grocery Experience

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Young couple shopping at supermarket

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,, 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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