Gen Z and Millennials Seek Sustainability, Convenience and Nostalgia from Private Brands

Juan De Paoli, VP of Our Brands at Kroger, and Andy Russick, VP of sales & marketing at Pacific Coast Producers, spoke about reaching Gen Z and Millennial shoppers at Store Brands' recent Industry Forum on Consumer Trends.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
Zachary Russell profile picture
Juan De Paoli
Juan De Paoli, VP of Our Brands, Kroger

At the April 27 Store Brands Industry Forum on Consumer Trends, Juan De Paoli, VP of Our Brands at Kroger, and Andy Russick, VP of sales & marketing at Pacific Coast Producers, discussed how retailers can better reach younger shoppers with own brand products.

A keynote address on consumer attitudes towards private label kicked off the event, which was Store Brands’ second industry forum of 2022, and included other panels such as buying fresh and innovative consumables.

“The importance of reaching customers of this younger generation is very clear,” said De Paoli. “The younger generation’s shopping habits have evolved. We have data that shows that Millennials are a lot more open to shop private brands. They see the value, they see the quality. We are staying ahead of the trends, and predicting what they’re looking for so we can build loyalty with that customer base.”

De Paoli added that when it comes to Gen Z and Millennials, two generations falling under the category of younger shoppers, there isn’t much of a difference in priorities when it comes to shopping. Both groups seek premium products, nostalgia and eco-friendly products.

Andrew Russick
Andy Russick, VP of sales & marketing, Pacific Coast Producers

“Convenience is a big trend that we don’t see going away,” he said. “Nostalgia comes back to every generation. The trend includes flavors that bring comfort and memories, and those comfort recipes are playing a key role. We just launched a PB&J sandwich cookie that builds on that nostalgia trend.”

From the producer side of private label, Russick said that making sustainability efforts known is a key factor in reaching younger shoppers who are more conscious of climate change than previous generations.

“Gen Z is really interested in selection, convenience and value, that’s how they choose their stores and brands,” said Russick. “For Gen Z and Millennials, it’s important for them to know that we’re taking care of the Earth. They also want clean products. They don’t want a lot of things on that label that they can’t pronounce or sound unhealthy. When you have clean ingredients and are a good company, they’re reading about that. The more my company can connect with them to tell the truth about what we’re doing for the Earth, the better.”

The forum can be viewed on-demand here.