As a soon-to-be college senior, I have been living away from home for the greater portion of the last three years and in this time I’ve acquired a new set of survival skills. For example, I can now last an entire month (or until I’m out of clean underwear) without doing my laundry; I’m able to function on less than four hours of sleep and I can withstand extreme humidity and heat waves without AC. Although it may seem like I live the stereotypical college student lifestyle, and in many ways I probably do, when it comes to how I grocery shop I seem to fit in with the tendencies of my generation, according to a recent study.
Unlike many college students, my diet doesn’t just consist of macaroni and cheese, Raman noodles and frozen pizza (although I do occasionally eat these). And, believe it or not, my fridge contains more than doggy bags, cold pizza, expired milk and beer. Turns out I’ve discovered some new hobbies in college – grocery shopping and cooking happen to be two of them.
Typically, I go grocery shopping a couple times a month because I try to eat at home as much as possible since it’s a cheaper and healthier alternative to eating out. I buy my nonperishable and frozen foods at Walmart because it’s close by and cheaper than a traditional grocery store. Most of my perishable items are purchased at a traditional grocery store because I can find fresher produce and higher quality deli goods. I’ve learned that when shopping for perishable foods I need to buy less so that I can make sure I eat it before it goes bad, but in turn I have to shop for these products more frequently (hence the multiple grocery trips in a month).
There was an interesting study done recently that investigated the ways in which Baby Boomers (my parents) grocery shop versus Millennials (people my age). The study, entitled “Trouble in Aisle 5,” done by global investment bank, Jeffries, and business advisory firm, AlixPartners, surveyed 2,000 adult grocery shoppers to explore these generational differences.
Of the 2,000 surveyed, 1,000 were grocery shoppers over age 18, another 500 were strictly Millennials aged 18 to 31 and the remaining 500 were Baby Boomers aged 48 to 66. According to the US Census Bureau’s recent projections, by 2020 Millennials over 25 will make up 19 percent of our country’s population. That’s up from just five percent in 2010! Also by 2020, the median income for these 64 million Millennials is projected to increase to more than $45,000 with their “at-home food spending” jumping to $50 billion annually.
Meanwhile, the Baby Boomers are expected to make up less than 20 percent of the population over the next eight years. Much of this generation will be migrating from their peak earning years to retirement, resulting in more focus on life preservation. It’s estimated that their “at-home food spending” could drop as much as $15 billion annually by 2020 – conceivably due to the fact that their family sizes are shrinking as their kids grow up and move out on their own.
The study also discovered that Millennials are all about convenience, while Boomers are a lot more brand loyal; 61 percent of Boomers surveyed that brand matters to them when shopping, compared to only 47 percent of Millennials. The Millennial convenience factor is justified because the study also found they tend to use several different shopping methods, including online and delivery services, and often shop at multiple retail channels when purchasing everyday essentials. I know this is partially true for me; I like to buy cosmetics and toiletries at stores like Walmart or Target, but tend to purchase food elsewhere. However, I personally only shop online for items such as clothing or electronics, not food.
Price was another factor that Millennials indicated was extremely important to them when shopping. As a poor college kid, I can definitely relate here as well. However, the study found that as my generation ages (and assumingly our incomes increase) price starts to matter less but quality, healthy and natural or organic increases in importance. Private labels are viewed so highly by Millennials that we require a smaller discount to purchase such products than Boomers would. So perhaps as Generation-Y ages they will develop more brand loyalty like their parents/grandparents have?
Despite the shifting market power and differing shopping habits, Boomers and Millennials do share some similar values when shopping. “Fresh and healthy” are important and appealing to both generations when it comes to grocery shopping. Boomers, many of whom are retired or nearing that stage of their lives, view their food choices as a means of promoting good health and increasing longevity. And even though my generation of young adults’ total spending on food at grocery stores is just 41 percent, 80 percent of us shop these stores for fresh products. Again, this is definitely true for me.
Due to these generational shifts in shopping habits and spending, food companies are under a lot of pressure to deliver more for less. There’s great demand for fresher, higher quality product with a desire for more choices and convenience. In order to combat these demands, analysts say food companies need “more innovative product development, leaner supply chains and more effective use of marketing techniques.” They also remind companies that unlike Boomers, Millennials are not yet “locked in” to their shopping habits.
If you’re a member of the Baby Boomer or Millennial generations, does this study match up with how you shop?
Make sure to watch for CBD’s upcoming video on our YouTube channel where we’ll interview Boomers and Millennials to compare and contrast the grocery shopping habits of the two segments.
The fast food giant that introduced the world to triple thick milkshakes, McGriddles and the infamous Big Mac, may have finally outdone itself. McDonald’s will open doors to its largest restaurant ever built for this summer’s Olympic Games in London. At 32,292 square feet, the restaurant will employ 2,000 workers and accommodate seating for up to 1,500 customers at a time. The massive eatery was built solely for the Olympic Games and will be torn down when the ceremonies conclude. Due to its brief existence, the building was constructed using all recyclable and reusable materials.
As a top tier sponsor of the Olympics, McDonald’s will be the only restaurant allowed to sell brand-name foods in the Olympic Park and Athlete’s Village. You can imagine the uproar this has created! From ordinary citizens to doctors and other professionals, this partnership has been receiving constant criticism. McDonald’s, a fast food franchise often condemned for its unhealthy menu options, serving as a major sponsor of the Olympic Games – a historic event celebrating the world’s greatest athletes – does sound a bit off.
Then again, what fast food chain is recognized as a healthy option? I can’t think of one. So then why has the International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintained this partnership with McDonald’s since 1976 and recently signed an agreement to continue it through the 2020 Games? The answer, as you may have guessed, is because they’ve got money!
The first Olympics on historic record date back to 776 BCE and some would even argue they’ve been around longer than that. Today it’s a tradition that has continued and grown for thousands of years. Being chosen to host the Olympics is a great honor and every four years the new Olympic host tries to out-do the last with a more elaborate opening celebration, beautiful décor and immaculate architecture. In fact, the Olympics have become such a colossal event that billions of dollars are spent on construction, decorations and security for the Games.
Although McDonalds may seem like an inappropriate pairing for the world’s greatest athletic competition, the company does appear to be making responsible marketing efforts. They began a global campaign aimed to encourage kids to get active by including “activity toys” in their happy meals. The toys will count how many steps the child takes or how many times they jump, etc. in a day to promote physical activity. The campaign has also been perceived as a tactic for counteracting the negative attacks they’ve received due to their exclusivity as the only food vendor at the Olympics and the construction of the world’s biggest McDonald’s.
Despite differing opinions, the reality of the situation is that without the backing of major corporations like McDonald’s, the Olympic events could not fulfill the extraordinary expectations we have grown so accustomed to. Instead, the costs would become the taxpayers’ burden, which probably wouldn’t be a favorable alternative.
McDonald’s is forking over big bucks to help fund the Olympics, so why shouldn’t they get exclusive rights to sell their product at the Games? Isn’t it the consumer’s responsibility to make healthy lifestyle choices? Is it McDonald’s fault if you eat a Big Mac and fries but never work out? After all, their food is now packaged and labeled with its nutritional content so it’s no secret what you’re ingesting. So what if it’s sold at the Olympic Games, it’s doubtful the athletes are consuming chicken nuggets before they compete and what does it matter if a spectator enjoys a soft drink and some fries while watching sand volleyball? Don’t they sell beer and hot dogs at all major sporting events too?
It all seems to go back to the permeating debate over responsibility and accountability. With obesity being a growing concern in many countries across the globe, food companies and consumers alike have been blamed for the problem. Should McDonald’s be allowed exclusive rights to be the only food option at the Olympics? Should they even be allowed to sponsor the Olympics? Who should be held accountable for the obesity problem facing so many individuals around the world? What’s your opinion?
Originally introduced in the 1970s, frozen yogurt, or frogurt as it was first called, struggled to be noticed in an ice cream dominated market. Then came the health craze of the eighties, popularized by celebrity-endorsed weight loss products and aerobics videos. Suddenly people recognized frozen yogurt as a healthier alternative to ice cream and frozen yogurt shops, such as TCBY (The Country’s Best Yogurt), were popping up everywhere. But this popularity did not last; these shops experienced a major decline in the 1990s.
Today, however, fro-yo (as it is so often called) is back and bigger than ever, with self-serve shops opening up all over the country. Stores offer a variety of flavors and toppings to satisfy any sweet tooth, guilt free. Or is it? Alone, frozen yogurt has fewer calories than ice cream as well as little to no fat. However, many of the popular self-serve frozen yogurt chains sell two cup sizes: large and very large. While those are not the actual names of the offered sizes, that is how they appear. Even when one chooses the smaller size, most do not fail to fill it to the brim with multiple flavors and overflowing amounts of toppings. The end result: a highly caloric frozen dessert costing as much as eight or nine dollars.
Many argue that the “self-serve” option, while being more fun for the consumer, results in a not-so-healthy treat. While this might indeed be true, it seems that people feel less guilty in over-indulgence because frozen yogurt is the ‘better for you’ option. After loading on fruit, cereal, cookie dough bites and other popular toppings, the yogurt creation is weighed and priced based off its weight. Over-indulging proves to be a common issue in Americans’ diets, but a practice that is certainly a financial benefit for frozen yogurt shops around the country.
Perhaps that is why so many keep sprouting up across the nation. When I typed “frozen yogurt” into a simple Google search, a list of eight different stores in my area popped up with a link to even more. Like Starbucks and McDonalds, frozen yogurt shops are getting to be a dime a dozen. But with so much competition how will they all survive? And is the frozen yogurt market here to stay this time? After all, its popularity in the eighties eventually wore off. These are common questions being asked right now.
Despite the dense amount of frozen yogurt storefronts, ice cream chains like Coldstone Creamery and Baskin Robins are starting to offer frozen yogurt too. Can these well established ice cream chains suffice for our frozen yogurt supply? Or will stores like Red Mango and Pinkberry continue to dominate the frozen yogurt scene? What kind of marketing techniques will keep such froyo stores in business and strong enough to beat out a sea of competitors? Or is the frozen yogurt popularity just another fad? Perhaps only time will tell, but what do you guys think?
The lure of organic foods grown or produced naturally, free of pesticides, hormones, or other chemicals may be healthier, but what’s it doing to our social life? A recent study reveals that exposure to organic foods may, in fact, make individuals judgmental and more likely to be ‘insufferable.’
The study, directed by Kendall Eskine, assistant professor of the department of psychological science at Loyola University in New Orleans, split up 60 people into three groups, each of which were shown different pictures. The first group viewed pictures of ‘organic foods’ (mainly produce), the second group was shown pictures of comfort foods (brownies, cupcakes, cookies, etc.) and the third group looked at pictures of foods that did not fall into either of the previous categories – foods such as rice, mustard and oatmeal.
Afterwards, the participants were given scenarios then asked to make ‘moral judgments’ on a scale from one to seven. The group exposed to organic images scored the situations highest, proving to be much more judgmental than the other two groups.
Another segment asked the subjects how much time (zero to 30 minutes) they would be willing to help a stranger in need. The organic group appeared to be the most selfish, offering an average of 13 minutes. Nearly doubling that time, the comfort food group said they would volunteer 24 minutes and the non-organic, non-comfort group fell in the middle, offering 19 minutes.
Eskine believes that the exposure to organic foods makes people feel better about themselves, ultimately inclining them to act poorly – a phenomenon he calls ‘moral licensing.’ “It’s like when you go to the gym and run a few miles you feel good about yourself, so you eat a candy bar,” Eskine explains. In other words, by making good decisions when eating, it makes people feel as if that is their ‘good deed of the day,’ giving them permission to behave immorally later on.
We think this study seems a bit far-fetched. After all, the subjects were simply shown pictures of produce they were told were ‘organic.’ But what do you think? Is it organic foods that caused the judgmental and selfish behaviors or perhaps just simply healthier foods? Do the foods we consume help dictate our behavior and morals? Or is it our morals and behavior that dictate which foods we consume? Share your opinion with us!
With so many grocery products now stamped with “reduced fat,” “low calorie” and “9 grams of fiber” claims, people are growing more and more health-conscious. Consumers are opting to buy organic foods, carefully checking nutrition labels and monitoring what they ingest into their bodies.
In particular, meat is among the food groups in which people are trying to cut back or choose healthier, organic options. News of unhealthy practices in raising livestock and chickens as well as health concerns are common motives that cause even non-vegans to shy away from meat.
In response, food producers are making efforts to deliver healthier products to consumers. Beyond Meat, a vegan start-up company, recently launched veggie chicken at Whole Foods stores in the Northern California region and at two Roots Market locations in Maryland.
In a market worth $340 million, alternatives that have flavor and texture resembling real meat are nearly impossible to find. Perhaps that’s why Twitter co-founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone (a vegan of ten years), have taken interest in supporting Beyond Meat, which offers plant-based alternatives unlike any in its market.
Beyond Meat’s faux chicken is made mostly from pea and soy powders, carrot protein and gluten-free flour. By taking plant proteins and realigning them to mimic the appearance and mouth-feel of real animal meat, the imposter chicken was even able to fool New York Times’ food columnist, Mark Bittman, in a blind food tasting. According to Ethan Brown, founder of Beyond Meat, their technology can also mimic beef, pork and fish. In fact, Brown hopes to launch Beyond Meat’s second product, fake beef, in the fall.
The alternative chicken is both healthy and tasty —with no saturated or trans fats, gluten, GMOs, cholesterol, dairy, hormones or, of course, meat! A 3-ounce serving of this fake chicken has 19 grams of protein. At just 100 calories, it maintains its delicious flavor and texture as if it was real thing.
It will be interesting to see if William and Stone –the men who transformed the way we communicate (in just 140 characters or less)– can help transform the way we view (and eat) meat. Will you opt to try this new alternative?
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