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12 characteristics of the next-generation grocery shopper


Take a look around your food store aisles. Today’s grocery buyer isn’t much like yesterday’s bargain hunter. The next-generation grocery shopper is comfortable paying more for products which align with their values. They’re reading labels for Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil and other natural, non-GMO ingredients. They want wholesome products which are both environmentally friendly and nutritious. We’ve analysed Nielsen’s Sustainability Imperative report to develop this shopper profile every food manufacturer should commit to memory.

The next-generation grocery shopper:

  1. Will pay more if a product aligns with their values. According to Nielsen, 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, up from 50 percent just two years ago.
  1. Reads labels. Shoppers are avoiding unhealthy ingredients, such as partially hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. In 2014, nearly half of Millennials reported checking product packaging for sustainability claims.
  1. Cares about the environment. Showing commitment to the environment can sway purchase decision for 45 percent of consumers.
  1. Reads company websites. Today’s consumer wants to know about sustainable and community-focused business and manufacturing processes.
  1. Wants more products which are affordable, healthy, convenient and environmentally friendly. According to this Nielsen, this is an opportunity for growth.
  1. Pay attention to opinions shared on social media. Reputation matters. Trusted brands earn more sales.
  1. Supports brands which are reducing their carbon footprint. Many consumers in developed markets consider sustainability a basic cost of entry.
  1. Is least influenced by television ads. Nielsen suggests using multiple communication methods, such as media coverage, annual reports and affiliation with respected non-profits to share your company’s good deeds.
  1. Considers brand trust as extremely important. It’s the most critical sustainability factor influencing purchase.
  1. Desires wholesome ingredients. More than half consider fresh, organic and natural ingredients a significant purchasing driver.
  1. Are less concerned about sales or coupons. Their personal values are often more important than other benefits, such as cost-savings.
  1. They’re not all young. Younger consumers are more willing to demand natural, sustainable products – nearly three out of four consumers under age 34 are willing to pay more – but they aren’t the only ones. More than half of baby boomers are comfortable paying extra for sustainable products.

This new focus is helping to fuel demand for Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. The naturally trans fat-free, nutritious and non-GMO oil is a key ingredient in many premium products.


By Mike Danielson

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