Marketing to millennials: It’s all about the story


Michelle McNickle, Digital Product Manager

Published on
March 7, 2016

It’s a badge of honor to know where your food came from in today’s millennial marketplace, according to one panelist at a session titled #Millennials: What will it take to sell to seafood to generations Y & Z?, today at the Seafood Expo North America show.

Millennials are into “extreme sharing,” panelists continued, whether that be face to face with their food or through social media. Attitudes about sustainability and activism have also shifted from generation to generation, with millennials taking a more active approach to knowing more about the sourcing and story behind their food choices.

“People understand when they’re buying food that the meal isn’t just fuel – they have a power in their choice and a collective influence,” said moderator Polly Legendre.

Because of millennials’ peaked interest in the backstory of their seafood – tied in with their interests in sustainable sourcing – fishermen have become well poised in the industry to do some creative marketing. Growing connections have come about through community supported fisheries models, allowing fishermen to diversify what they sell and connect directly with consumers.

Jose Duarte, chef and owner of Taranta Restaurant in Boston, spoke more to the end user’s buying decisions and how those come to be. “Chefs used to get asked [about the food] but not anymore. The consumer is informed as to whether or not the product is sustainable, but that’s also the problem – what entity tells you fish is sustainable?”

That’s one concern Duarte expanded on. “It’s an issue I run into, with ten entities telling me different things. Millennials just go to their phones.”

Speaking of phones, Duarte explained a program he implemented about six years ago that included putting QR codes right on plates. At the restaurant, the consumer scans the code and is immediately told who caught the fish, when and where, and when it was delivered to the restaurant.

“We created added value to the food,” said Duarte. “It was creating engagement with millennials at the point of sale.”

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