The Great Recession hit millennials hard. It’s the generation without any credit, left scrambling for jobs and money.
As the Trends Research Institute has been forecasting, corporations, retailers and marketers have ineffectively responded to this relatively poor generation with little spending power.
But Whole Foods (aka, whole paycheck) – known for its overpriced homogenized version of a farmers’ market that caters to upper/middle-class baby boomers and yuppies – announced in May it was seeking to launch a millennial chain, focusing on cheaper prices while keeping its promise on organic and farm-fresh foods. This comes during a substantial downslide, showing little relief in its latest second-quarter statement.
Whole Foods’ problem underscores the grocery industry’s shift during economically flat times. Giant chains are growing even larger, expanding their hypermarket model. Walmart Supercenters feel like giant self-storage units; walk through the door and see not just your produce and cereal, but have a seat at the café. Maybe drop your kid off at day care. Hungry while you shop for food? Have a burger. One such market, Wegmans, just announced a new store in Brooklyn. They see the dollar signs: Bring in poor millennials with the promise of cheap food and an all-in-one experience, and you’ll build an even larger empire, even if variety lacks and quality is compromised.
TRENDPOST: Big-box stores, providing minimal organic foods and inexpensive conversation to their mainstream consumers, will continue to rule market share. Millennials already have learned to shop smart, seeking multiple options to save money. They’re visiting the local farmers’ market for produce, grabbing dry goods at the local bodega, and procuring meat from the avenue butcher. Whole Foods is looking to tap into that shopper, promising inexpensive experiences and a higher quality of grocery. But the shoppers here see through the stock prices; a smart millennial shopper wants the cheapest goods and knows a Whole Foods spinoff will still play mid-market.