Marketing 25 October 2014

How to get the
next generation to
love potatoes

This year the Y-generation (people who are between 18-34 years old) represents 15% of the total European population. But they hardly eat potatoes. Although 91% says to love the taste of fresh potatoes, 82% of them eat less than 2 meals a week with fresh potatoes. The potato sector can not afford to ignore this huge potential market if it wants to stay in business.

The main reason this generation doesn’t consume more potatoes, is that most of them don’t even think about it”, says Lilian Escalon sector manager retail fresh with HZPC. “We did an online survey in France and discovered that most of them don’t even go to the potato area in the supermarket. And those who do, aren’t necessarily thinking in buying potatoes. So first of all we have to make them aware of the product. This really is a battle we have to win in communication. But of course just communicating is not enough. We have to do this in a way that fits the Y-generation, because the benefits they seek, are different from how we as potato sector are used to present our products.”

The sector has to change the old-fashioned image of potatoes.

Make potato products fit

First of all the products must be made to fit this generation. “We found five characteristics that are important to the Y-generation when it comes to food products,” Lilian Escalon explains.

  • Affordability
  • Convenience
  • Health
  • Customization
  • Connections

This means we have to make products more convenient and attractive to the target group. The sector has to change the old-fashioned image of heavy bags that are too large for small households, the bothersome pealing and the long cooking time. Instead potato products should be:

  • Easy to peel or don’t need peeling at all
  • Easy to cook: small grading range, precise cooking time indication, suggestions for microwave cooking
  • Have good shelf life at home: right variety, smaller packaging, information about storing at home
  • Of good quality

Communication tips

When the products fit the needs of the Y-generation, the challenge is to convince them of that. “We researched that thoroughly”, says Lilian Escalon. “Here are 4 of the important tips we found.” 

  1. The Y-generation cares about the environment and about being healthy, so:
    • Be an open and honest brand.
    • Deliver fair products.
  2. The Y-generation has a visual culture that has to be translated in a design, so:
    • Develop different, attractive packaging; made just for them.
  3. The Y-generation likes products that let them express theirselves, so:
    • Make something they can customize and fit to their lifestyle.
  4. Last but not least: connect with them! The Y-generation communicates through different media. Be where they are, so:
    • Make good use of social media and let them share (food) experiences with friends.
More tips to appeal to the Y-generation
Be relevant as a brand
Use consumer insight; surf the internet for Y-generation
Recognize the different needs of this target group
Tap in to values, for instance local fresh
Be the good guy (the brand has to do something good)
Be culturally relevant
Pay attention to trends
Helping beats selling
Potatoes can fulfil all expectations of the Y-generation perfectly.

Good news

Lilian Escalon concludes encouragingly: “The good news is, that potatoes have the potential to fulfil all the expectations of the Y-generation perfectly. We just haven’t made that clear up till now. If we tune our products right and learn how to communicate in a new way, I’m sure we can get the Y-generation loving potatoes.”

“Concept presentation:
Enjoy life
Fruit Logistica, Berlin
Hall 1.2, stand C-15”

HZPC & Y-generation

During Fruit Logistica in Berlin from 4-6 February 2015 HZPC will use the biggest part of its stand to show that it is possible to do fun and creative things with potatoes!
A concept especially developed to appeal to the Y-generation will be presented: Enjoy life, The Simple Choice. This concept has been prepared in cooperation with French packers, but holds great potential for other countries in Europe and around the world as well. Next to this innovative concept, WOW Colourful Perupas will be presented. These colourful potatoes bring diversity and creativity in the potato sector and an element of surprise to our dishes.

HZPC aims to inspire the exhibition visitors and to let them see the possibilities potatoes have to offer in a whole new light. You are most welcome to the stand at hall 1.2, C-15.