Packaging Design Key to Attracting Millennial Private Brand Food Shoppers

Packaging Design Key to Attracting Millennial Private Brand Food Shoppers

Millennials are garnering a lot of attention lately in the private brand industry. According to the recent Private Label Foods: What’s Driving Purchase? report from Mintel, 97 percent of this powerful group of consumers, age 18–36, said they are likely to buy store brand foods (versus 94 percent of all U.S. shoppers). In addition, close to 70 percent of Millennial store brand shoppers said they felt these products are higher quality than they used to be (compared to 63 percent of general store brand food shoppers) and brand trust ranked higher for this group as well. The report’s most interesting finding, however, is that 42 percent of Millennials said that store brand food products are actually more innovative than name brand products.

As Jeff Fromm, president of FutureCast, a Millennial marketing consultancy, explained in a recent article, the reason national brands don’t hold as much allure for Millennials as they do for other consumers is partially due to economic concerns, as this historically underemployed generation is on a budget and starting to have families. He also stressed, however, that Millennials don’t necessarily correlate “cool” with high-end—that is, “price is not the determining factor of a brand’s value,” he stated. Instead, said Fromm, who is co-author of Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever, “Extraordinary brand value is a combination of brand uniqueness, meaningfulness and the opportunity for Millennials to participate or co-create.”

Supermarkets like Kroger, Supervalu and H-E-B are targeting Millennial shoppers by introducing premium private label food products that appeal to their craving for artisanal flavors and affordable luxury. Kroger, for example, recently launched HemisFares, a line of 27 authentic Italian products, including Sicilian Pistachio Gelato and Bolognese Pasta Sauce. The products feature refined packaging design with a black-backed logo and the tag line, “A Journey of Epicurean Proportions.”

Indeed, packaging design is key to positioning these kinds of products as premium or artisanal to capture Millennial shoppers’ attention on store shelves, says Michael Schmidt, creative director of Rouge24, a branding and packaging design agency specializing in the private brand industry. “You can achieve a premium feel just by the very nature of the substrate that you’re printing on,” Schmidt says. “Craft paper, for example, evokes the feeling of a boutique food environment on the shelf rather than a big box store.” In addition, simple, easy-to-read typography; minimal product feature call-outs; and photography showcasing natural ingredients set against a dark slate background, for example, can all contribute to creating a premium feel, Schmidt says.

“It’s definitely a case of less is more,” he stresses. “Let the product speak for itself. Millennials are so socially adept—they get a much larger input of information on a daily basis from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook than other shopper demographic groups we’ve seen previously. You need to take a different approach from a design perspective to catch their eye, so despite this bombardment of information the product still rides to the top.”

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