A survey of U.S. consumers showed that a large majority are looking to food brands for inspiration, value-added information and to stand for something — especially younger shoppers.
The study of 1,523 Americans was conducted by West Des Moines, Iowa-based branding agency Meyocks. The company does work with retailer private brands such as Midwest chain Hy-Vee and its Hy-Vee One Step program that leverages the retailer’s own brand of One Step cereal purchases to help support programs around hunger relief, community gardens, well construction or tree planting in areas of need.
Meyocks said the program is an example of a company using own brands for “mentor branding” to inspire its loyal shoppers.
The study looked further into ideas around what’s driving a shopper connection to certain brands finding that more than half would pay more for a food brand that advocates for something they believed in, and 55% of consumers would boycott a food brand if that company conflicted with their beliefs.
The study also found that 88% of consumers said food brands should provide valued-added information to their customers, 73% believe food brands should work to inspire customers, and 72% think food brands should advocate for their customers. Some advocacy efforts include providing instruction on different ways to use a product or service (56% of respondents said), inspiration on how to improve their personal lives (47%) and advocacy for the environment (44%).
“Mentor branding is an opportunity for food brands to create stronger bonds with customers by inspiring them, advocating on their behalf and providing value-added information,” said Doug Jeske, president of Meyocks. “Consumers feel strongly that food brands should demonstrate mentorship characteristics. We’ve found that food brands that rate high in these characteristics enjoy faster revenue growth.”
The survey of shoppers also found that millennial and Generation Z shoppers are seeking “mentor branding” traits in a food brand. The survey showed:
- 92% of millennials said food brands should provide value-added information;
- 70% of millennials said they are willing to pay more for a food brand that advocates for something they believe in or feel strongly about;
- 95% of Generation Z survey participants said food brands should provide value-added information;
- 66% of Generation Z said they are willing to pay more for a food brand that advocates for something they believe in or feel strongly about.