business news in context, analysis with attitude

In the just-posted edition of Facts, Figures & The Future, the Food Marketing Institute’s senior vice president Michael Sansolo writes that “a thirty-something member of my staff complained to me recently that Generation X is completely misnamed. Rather than the bland ‘X,’ she suggested her age group should be called the ‘Apple Generation.’ When I asked why, her response was simple: ‘because we didn't fall far from the tree.’

“Her observation is extremely interesting when considering the shopping behavior of the Xers. As shown clearly in FMI's Trends of US Grocery Shoppers, Xers are behaving more like their parents and grandparents and less like the younger Generation Y.

“To those who can remember the wailing and hand wringing over Gen X's behavior a decade ago, this might be a shock. Gen X was supposed to be the slacker generation. This group was born into the malaise and unrest of the mid-1960s and 1970s, and they were allegedly entering adulthood with a firm grasp on doing nothing. Nothing has been further from the truth.

“Gen X is a generation of new technology and new realities. They grew up where both parents (if there were two parents) worked outside the home, and saw lifetime job security disappear.

“It's no surprise they are different when it comes to food shopping too. They came of age as retail channels blurred and eating out became almost as large as eating at home. Now they've settled down, are having children and they've become, well, their parents…

“In the most important way, however, Xers are just like their parents: they can't be easily defined into one shopping group. Just as the ‘slacker’ generation produced some amazing entrepreneurs, so is it filled with all types of shoppers seeking a wide array of experiences; underscoring the challenge for supermarket operators and manufacturers to find the best way to serve them.”

This is a sentiment echoed by SupermarketGuru’s Phil Lempert, who writes:

“No matter what type of manufacturer or retailer, the light bulb has finally been illuminated: we all need to know more about the shopper if we are to be successful. And it's getting more difficult to do that each day as shoppers become more channel and demographically diverse.”

Among the F3 stories designed to illuminate both the shopper t=and the shopping experience are pieces about:

  • The continued health of category management.

  • How to go beyond category management to “trip management.”

  • Rebounding milk sales and how they play into health concerns.

  • Fair trade – and why it is important to consumers and retailers.

And much more about subjects ranging from hot dogs to pomegranate juice.

F3 is published by the Food Marketing Institute, ACNielsen, and Phil Lempert.

To get your copy, go to:
KC's View: