a note on millennials: we care about our earth’s health.

 
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Millennials expect more for earth.

In case you missed it, Millennials are more than just selfie-taking connoisseurs, they’re ambassadors for the environment’s sustainability — and they’re waking up brands to the notion that social responsibility and transparency are key factors in choosing companies they’ll stand behind.  

Born between the years 1981 and 1996, Millennial’s perspective on the world is different. Where they buy their food, how they interact with brands and what they choose to spend their money on matters to them. And, it’s changing the ecosystem for the better. 

Clean eating and consumerism.

According to Nielsen, Millennials are “more willing to pay more for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients (90% vs. 61%), organic / natural ingredients (86% vs. 59%), or products that have social responsibility claims (80% vs. 48%).” You can most likely find Millennials inhabiting the weekend farmers market, picking up their weekly haul from local farmers and vendors that they know and trust. They care about where the food they buy comes from, if it was grown sustainably and the food miles it took to get them there. But it’s more than that, local markets offer consumers a way to give back to their community and keep their money within the local economy.

I asked my sister, a head chef at a restaurant in Pittsburgh, her take on sourcing locally for the restaurant’s inventory. “It’s very expensive to source locally when you have such a big quantity of fresh food you to have to maintain. But, I try to use as many local farms and bakeries as possible. I’ve been using the same small, local bakery for years, they don’t deliver because they’re too small. I feel bad asking a line cook to go pick up the order, because it we could easily have bread delivered weekly from a large company. But it just doesn’t taste the same. People come back because we have quality, local ingredients. And that’s important to me.” 

It’s true, the bread she buys is one of my favorites, and the relationship she’s cultivated with local farms and bakeries is meaningful and personal. So meaningful that she’ll pay more for their product because she’s supporting local, and in the end - everyone loves the quality of it. It’s a win-win for everyone. And it’s not just with food, it’s with all brands. 

Brand Cause-sumption and transparency.

This isn’t something new. Toms has been around since 2006 and has proven that do-good companies are not disappearing or a trend. ”Millennials often use their spending power to express who they are and cause-sumption makes it accessible," says Kirk Olson, VP of Trend Sights at Horizon Media. Making up the fastest growing and largest age group in the market, millennials represent the consumer market of the future. 

Admittedly, alongside my sister, I am smack dab in the middle of millennial age group, give or take. It’s safe to say that traditional advertising that once worked for our parents, is no longer effective. Millennials, myself included, value a brand that won’t harm the environment and is aligned with their values. Not only that, but they are wiling to pay more for brands and companies that can give them that. According to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “Millennials say they are prepared to make personal sacrifices to make an impact on issues they care about, whether that’s paying more for a product (70 percent vs. 66 percent US average), sharing products rather than buying (66 percent vs. 56 percent) or taking a pay cut to work for a responsible company (62 percent vs. 56 percent).” 

That’s something I can attest to as a loyal consumer to companies that align with my values. They are worth the extra amount if it means healthier, sustainable food and products. Lets keep the green initiatives growing, re-use and up-cycle products and purchase organic foods and pass it on to future generations. 

 
Meg Lewis