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based on sites like Yelp or Facebook. Younger shoppers give a lot of
weight to recommendations from friends on social media. They are
using mobile technology to find bakeries and share what they've had.
"That's where they are going to seek out unique experiences," says
Jenny LaPaugh, senior director of global market research and insights
for Dawn Foods. "Bakeries can fuel that obsession with memorable
items. Convenience is definitely important. Millennials tend to make
less trips overall, but when they go somewhere, they spend more."
Beth Fahey, co-owner of Creative Cakes in Tinley Park, Illinois, cites
her own bakery's sales trends in the past year when she points out that
customer counts are down, but average sales per trip are up. Creative
Cakes recently opened a sales-only office 45 minutes from the bakery's
production facility in efforts to capture new customers.
"Most of our shoppers are harder to reach using conventional
methods," agrees Lynn Schurman, owner of Cold Spring Bakery in Cold
Spring, Minnesota. "They are expecting more online options. They
are expecting more information before they make their purchasing
LaPaugh points out that Dawn research shows that independent retail
bakeries are growing in both size and number. "People love supporting
local bakeries," she says. "Millennials want to be in the know - how a
business is supporting the local community. Bakeries can take advantage of that."
Dawn created the Innovation Studio for this exact reason of helping
bakeries thrive and innovate. LaPaugh says they invite customers
to the bakery research and development center, located in Jackson,
Michigan, for innovation sessions to generate new product ideas.
One example is Dawn customer Hurts Donut's pickle donut, which
went viral this year on social media. "We co-create new recipes and
products," LaPaugh says. "It's been a great resource."
Craving human interaction
A new study from Culinary Visions Panel's Mindful Dining Initiative
highlights younger consumers' craving for human connection when
dining out. In the study, 1,500 US consumers, 18 years and older, were
surveyed about their attitudes toward ethics-based dining and how
it impacts their food choices and purchasing decisions outside the
home. The study found that despite their love for technology, younger
consumers are using it not to replace human interaction but to
enhance their social experiences when dining out.
"With more and more restaurants and foodservice establishments
turning to technology to solve labor shortage issues, it is important to
Consumers' desire for instore sensory experiences continues to drive
demand for goodies like Dorothy Lane Market's Killer Brownies.
understand the role of technology in consumers' dining experiences.
Our studies show younger adults, in particular, enjoy the social aspects
of dining out," says Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary
Visions Panel. "Today's younger consumers grew up with technology
and their facility with it allows them to use technology to make their
lives more convenient."
Questions on consumer-facing technology were included for the first
time since the project began in 2014. Despite the fact that younger
consumers like to use technology to make ordering quick and errorfree, the study revealed that millennials and Gen Z consumers are
some of the most appreciative demographics when it comes to quality
customer service and positive in-person interaction. More than 60
percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18-34 said they would
love to go to a restaurant where the server calls them by their name.
By contrast, 58 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 35-54
and 54 percent of those aged 55 and older said the same thing. It seems
the pervasiveness of technology has upped the need for quality
interaction. As millennials and Gen Z are some of the most engaged
consumers of the digital world, a personal touch in dining experiences
outside the home goes a long way.
Millennial and Gen Z consumers view dining experiences as social
experiences that should be celebrated through sharing on social
media. The study found that 58 percent of the consumers surveyed
between ages 18-34 said that they like to take pictures to share on
social media when dining with a group. In contrast, 44 percent of those
surveyed between the ages of 35-54 and 22 percent of those aged 55
and older said the same thing.
Younger consumers may be quicker to embrace technology in foodservice because they value quickness and convenience as a generation.
According to the study, 48 percent of those between ages 18-34 say
they prefer using kiosks or touch screens to order because it's quicker
compared to 32 percent of those between the ages of 35-54 and only 12
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