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Cross-generational marketing: What’s on a bread label is as important as what’s not

Generational differences can play a key role in shoppers’ decision-making and should factor into formulation and marketing strategies in the bakery aisle.

All generations of consumers enjoy bread, but there are key differences among age groups and life stages in how they make purchase decisions. For bakery brands to be most effective in their marketing and selling strategies, they should understand the ways Millennials think about and shop for bread differ from Gen X or Boomer consumers; whether a shopper has children at home also makes a difference. A recent study from Lesaffre Corp. through C+R Research shed light on these cross-generational trends and how fortification appeals to all ages.

Bread: Attitudes and shopping behavior

When it comes to buying bread, younger generations, like Gen Z and Millennials, tend to spend more time in the grocery store thinking through their purchase before making a decision. Conversely, Boomers are likely to go with what they know and will reach for the brands or types of bread that are familiar to them. Gen X consumers, while less likely than younger consumers to search for breads based on appearance, are significantly more likely to explore the aisle for the best price. Part of the reason price is so important to Gen X is because many of these consumers have children at home and are buying more bread to feed their families. Similarly, Millennial parents spend time in the bread aisle making sure the bread they buy will meet their children’s evolving taste preferences and certain nutritional requirements.

Given these differences, there are several implications for bakery brands. Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to be variety seekers. Gen Z and Millennials are also significantly more likely than older generations to eat or drink whatever they want and however much they want. Therefore, it makes sense they may be more interested in trying new, innovative products with a natural look and feel.

In fact, the data show Gen Z (58%) and Millennial (56%) generations are more likely than Gen X (44%) or Boomer (29%) consumers to be willing to pay more for natural or organic foods. Brands are well-served to formulate applications that are visually attractive and feature trendy ingredients.

On the other hand, 71% of Boomers said they don’t change their diet based on the latest food trends. Further, Boomers are more likely than younger generations to be ambivalent toward clean labeling. In general, “clean label” is not well understood by this generation.

To read this article in full check out the Clean label innovation in the bakery aisle – digital magazine.

Bill Hanes is the vice president of marketing and strategy for Lesaffre.

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