April 3 2017 09:00 AM

For millennial shoppers, food is more than just the label or the story; it’s what the product brings to their lifestyle.

Eight in 10 millennial shoppers say it’s important to eat healthy according to a survey done by the marketing firm The Halo Group. But it doesn’t stop there because those same individuals say that it’s good to indulge occasionally.

This counter intuitive mindset might be what makes it so difficult to market products to the average consumer today. The report showed that millennials also care about the product story.

The health conscious group wants to know the food’s story, but also how it fits in with their lifestyles. Millennials want the food experience, whether it’s as they gather together to break bread or are exposed to foods from other countries and cultures.

When making food decisions, millennials are more likely to turn to health experts. According to the report, 65 percent look to well-established nutritionists while 58 percent trust dietitians, 57 percent turn to family and friends, and 54 percent trust personal trainers.

Less important to this group is labeling claims and certifications.

The good news for dairy products is that a great message is already built into the product. Also true is that it can fit into both healthy and indulgent diets. For the adventurous millennial, cultural variations on dairy-heavy meals are quite easy to come by.

With more and more options on the shelves, it remains important for us as an industry to understand and shape these purchasing trends.

Maggie Seiler

The author is an associate editor. She covers feeding and nutrition, youth activities and heads up the World Dairy Expo Supplement. Maggie was raised on a 150-cow dairy near Valley Center, Kansas, and graduated from Kansas State University with degrees in agricultural communications and animal sciences.