Categorized | Americas, Columns, Europe, Features

Millennials & Store Brands

Posted on 18 June 2019

By Kara Miencier, Sales Executive, Paramont Roasters

Store Brands through the eyes of a millennial working for an 84 year old company

Millennials undoubtedly get a bad rap in the store brands industry. Their purchasing behavior, their ability to flip flop on decisions/brands/stances, their deep desire to understand “why” and “where” their goods come fromit is all a complex roadmap to follow. I am sure most of you are reading this to hopefully understand what is going on with those millennials!

Confession: I am a millennial.

2019 will mark my five year anniversary of working for Paramount Roasters. (No, we don’t all change jobs multiple times a year). Paramount is an employee-owned company in Lansing, MI that has been roasting coffee since 1935. As a millennial working for a company with 84 years of rich history; it is both thrilling and comforting to stand behind a company with such a solid foundation. For over eight decades, Paramount has had a track record of high quality coffee, exceptional customer service, and a vast breadth of knowledge on the industry. There is a strong conviction in sharing with customers that we’ve been around that long. With a strong past, Paramount has not lost sight on the future. There is a strong focus in paving the way for the next generation of leaders… including, millennials.

I’ve been given the chance to travel to origin and see the growing process from seed to cup. I met with the local farmers in Minas Gerais, Brazil and truly grasped what coffee growing means to them. I’ve been given the chance to sit on the Board of Directors for Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence (WISE) where I get to learn from brilliant and experienced women and men in the industry. And that’s just from a professional standpoint. From a consumer standpoint- I’ve found some of my favorite products in store brands, tried funky flavors and have surely saved myself hundreds of dollars while doing so.

I have been asked by others within the industry how I got started in store brands. To me the answer is simple. To millennials like myself, store brands aren’t “store brands” they’re just brands. It’s the brand that majority of our shopping carts are made up of and the brands that we are willing to try and whole heartedly trust. We care about ingredients, certifications and where our food comes from. Store brands give us all of that, plus innovation and at an amazing value. Why would we choose something else?

As store brands continue to explode, millennials curiosity and passion for sustainability, innovation and value is what will continue to push this movement forward.

As the grocery industry undergoes huge transformation and retailers continue to reinvent themselves, there couldn’ be a more exciting time to be a part of this industry.

When I speak with others on how the industry has changed, it’s hard to even picture the times I hear about; when quality was so low and packaging was so bleak. “The industry today versus years ago is almost unrecognizable. The standards for quality have improved tenfold, and the offerings have grown beyond belief. Today, buyers are asking many more questions than “what is your best cost?” They’re asking about the quality, the origin, the certifications, the production process, and beyond. Looking back, you could say the past was a simpler time. Though, with the explosion of popularity that is happening now- store brands has never been more exciting.” Steve Morris, President/COO.

Just like every generation before that has dominated the purchasing power of the market, millennials will continue to shape and influence the way we think and the way we shop. Retailers will continue to adapt to our need for immediacy, and in the end we will create a marketplace that is continually evolving like it always has been.

I think we can agree that this new wave of ordering store brands right from our couch, delivered straight to our door, hasn’t been such a bad thing sometimes!

In closing, time to shine the spotlight on Gen Z and see how they shake up the industry!

Kara Miencier, Private Brand Sales Executive for Paramount Roasters has a passion for store brands and the coffee industry. To learn how the Paramount Roasters sales team can help build and grow your coffee program, please reach out at: (517) 853-2439. Our team looks forward to the chance to work with you!

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