Thursday, May 18, 2023

Customization and Authenticity are Key to Making Gen Z your Customer


Irish milk brand Avonmore is launching a milk with added fiber and vitamins. Each 250-milliliter glass of the low-fat white milk contains 6 grams of fiber from chicory root. 

“Digestive health is a key area of concern for consumers and with this product launch, we hope to provide an easy and convenient solution for consumers to increase their fiber intake, whilst the addition of vitamins C and D will also help to address consumers growing desire for products that support the immune system,” said Gráinne Murray, senior brand manager at Tirlán, which owns the Avonmore brand. 

The first iPod debuted in October 2001. My Gen Z son was just turning two and his brother was still getting baked in my oven. They grew up listening to a personalized playlist consisting of Baby Mozart, with a sprinkling of School House Rock and the occasional Crazy Frog to dance all their toddler energy out. They heard mom—me—place my order at Starbucks, “grande non-fat latte, no foam, 140 degrees.” I’ve always ordered food—fast-food, quick-serve and white table cloth—like a (When Harry Met) Sally. (No offense to all the Sallys out there.) 

I know I am not the only Gen Z’er who unintentionally trained their offspring to “get it the way you want it.” In other words, personalize it. 

Tapan Shah, head of venture capital-snack futures, Mondelez International, spoke at the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network event at CoLaboratory in Chicago this week. When discussing the company’s multi-tier approach to the snack food category, which includes investments, and often eventually acquisitions, in start-ups, he emphasized that “food is insanely personal.” 

It was not always this way. There was a point in time when you ate what was served at the dinner table, such as meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, peas and carrots, and, of course, a tall glass of milk. That is not coming back. Repeat after me: That is not coming back. 

Big Food is addressing the personalization and customization movement. And as more options make their way to market, the greater the consumers’ expectations. 

The 2023 National Restaurant Association Show kicks off on Saturday in Chicago. This is where Kraft Heinz will debut the Heinz Remix, with plans to pilot the innovation with restaurant operators in late 2023 to early 2024. 

As a condiment-obsessed individual—part of that Sally trait—I wish I could get one of these machines in my home. This automated sauce dispenser allows consumers to personalize their own flavor creations, with more than 200 possible sauce combinations. The free-standing machine is touchscreen operated, enabling consumers to first select from a range of “bases”—currently Heinz-brand Ketchup, Ranch, 57 Sauce and BBQ Sauce—then personalize further with one or more “enhancers”—currently Jalapeño, Smoky Chipotle, Buffalo and Mango—at their preferred intensity level (low, medium or high). 

“As a company, we’re transforming through innovation by making bigger, more intentional bets to fuel our growth and create new experiences for consumers,” said Alan Kleinerman, vice president of disruption at Kraft Heinz. “Heinz Remix is a great example of this consumer-first approach to innovation. We’re changing the game for foodservice operators and sauce lovers. Dipping will never be the same.”

This is true, as is the fact that “you will eat what I serve” will never be the norm again.
“With Heinz Remix, it’s more than a sauce dispenser; it’s an insights engine and business model enabler that will help Kraft Heinz understand and respond to consumer trends and flavor preferences in real-time,” said Kleinerman. “Who knows, maybe our next new sauce combination will come from a superfan using Heinz Remix.”

“The launch of Heinz Remix is a first for the sauce category and foodservice industry,” said Peter Hall, president, U.S. Away from Home for Kraft Heinz. “It’s a great example of how we’re leveraging culinary insights and category knowledge to drive greater value for our customers and consumers. Our ambition is to be the leader for taste, flavor and experience anywhere you’re eating, and we’re delivering on that goal with category leading innovations like Heinz Remix.” 

As Kraft Heinz continues on its journey to lead the future of food, the company is focused on creative disruption across the entire organization, breaking down siloes to cultivate collaboration, reimagining product development and utilizing digital capabilities to accelerate the pace of innovation. 
Is your company playing like this? The time is now. 

Recent research from Morning Consult, Washington D.C., shows that Gen Zers are 21 percentage points more likely than the general population to say they tried a new beverage in the course of a month and 11 points more likely to say they tried a new packaged food. They allocate more of their wallet to the food and beverage category than to other categories, such as apparel, electronics or beauty. 

Novelty and experimentation will help brands connect with Gen Z, but that doesn’t always have to be in the form of new product innovation. Brands can also win Gen Zers’ hearts with ideas for new flavor combinations, recipes, serving suggestions or even new occasions. 

In other words, speak to their individual needs. These may be needs they are not even unaware of, such as fiber intake. 

“Experimentation is a part of growing up. This is especially true for Gen Zers, who are coming of age in a choice-filled marketplace with more channels to influence their purchase decisions. This effectively speeds up the experimentation cycle because it offers Gen Zers more touch points to learn about a wide range of options faster than ever before,” according to the Morning Consult research. (Surveys were conducted Nov. 2 to 8, 2022, among representative samples of 2,210 U.S. adults and 1,000 U.S. Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 25.)

Here's where it gets really GREAT for dairy. Morning Consult research shows that Gen Zers’ favorite foods tend to be more traditional. When given a blank space to name their favorite foods, roughly 20% of Gen Zers mentioned pizza. Other foods that garnered high mentions were chicken (including nuggets, strips and wings), pasta and burgers.

“It’s possible that Gen Zers’ experimentation may decline as they grow older, but it won’t completely go away,” according to Emily Moquin, the lead food and beverage analyst on the Industry Intelligence team at Morning Consult. “In the coming years, they will further don the responsibility of primary household grocery shopping and perhaps settle into some habits along the way. But, as members of the most diverse generation of Americans, with more channels of exposure to global trends and more ways to purchase increasingly niche products, Gen Zers’ penchant for trying new foods and beverages, whether it’s through buzzworthy mashups or novel functional benefits, seems likely to last a lifetime.”

One of those novel functional benefits comes in the form of fiber. But not all fibers are created equal. And it appears that prebiotic fiber may address some health and wellness issues that Gen Z prioritizes.

Emerging research presented during an April 18, 2023, session at SupplySide East in Secaucus, N.J., suggests that a healthy gut may benefit other areas of wellness, including mood, anxiety, cognition and sleep, according to Len Monheit, executive director, Global Prebiotic Association, Spring, Texas. He explained that gut/health digestion are the primary reasons why consumers purchase products containing prebiotics. But, as science emerges, and consumers get educated, there are other reasons. 

According to a 2023 supplement survey from Industry Transparency Center cited by Monheit, 38% of respondents said they take prebiotics for gut/health digestion, 26% for immunity health, 17% for regularity, 15% for microbiome health and 14% for antioxidant properties. He believes there’s a lot of room for growth as consumers become more aware of prebiotics and their functions. 

Again, these are functions Gen Z is interested in. Dairy foods are an ideal delivery vehicle for prebiotic fibers. 

A 2022 survey of 10,000 consumers in 10 countries conducted by FMCG Gurus, a market research company, and commissioned by BENEO, shows that three out of four (77%) of global consumers who purchase prebiotics have been doing so for less than two years, while 28% of global consumers who do not purchase prebiotics say that they have not seen them available.

The time is now! 

Fifty-four percent of the participants said they were aware of prebiotics, and about 30% said they were aware that chicory root fiber and inulin are prebiotics. These are the most widely used prebiotic fiber ingredients in food and beverage. 

When asked why they purchased foods and drinks containing prebiotics, 73% said digestive health and another 73% said general well-being. In fact, consumers said they are looking to address areas of well-being even if they are not suffering from symptoms, even if they are satisfied with that area of health.
This is what Gen Z is all about!

Science matters. Three out of four respondents said the most important factors when choosing a food or drink containing prebiotics are product efficacy, health claims and science-based claims.
“The fact that reliable claims, backed by science, are top of consumers’ wish list reinforces the approach we have taken over the past 20 years in supporting scientific prebiotic research for our ingredients,” said Myriam Snaet, head of market intelligence and consumer insights, BENEO. 

To read more about “The Forgotten Nutrient—Fiber—Presents Innovation Opportunities for Dairy Product Developers,” link HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment