Attract teens with events, education

April 19, 2011

Who’s on the side of teens? Supermarkets can be, if they address their interests and needs.

Teen girls steal the customer limelight in malls for their propensity to shop. It’s clearly different in supermarkets, where adults are the predominant chief household shoppers.

But chains looking at household influences ought to pay attention to both teen girls and boys, and particularly encourage the ones that are food-involved.  It’s likely many teens are sensitized by TV food shows and develop cooking as an interest or possible future vocation. Countless other teens have their heads filled with academic studies, after-school activities and other responsibilities.  With such full schedules, they’d be well served to know more about the connections between foods and the way they look, feel and perform – their moods, alertness, sociability and competitiveness in every aspect of their lives.

The more they understand the right foods can give them an edge – and the closer a supermarket can make them feel to its offerings – the better for both, The Lempert Report believes.  Why? Teens have a definitive voice at home about foods that make it into the shopping cart, even if they’re not the ones shopping.  When they go off to college, they come back in spurts, and often long-term again once they graduate.  Eventually, they’ll be supplying their own households.

What can supermarkets do to swing teens in their direction?  A Whole Foods store in Paramus, NJ recently held a Teen chef showdown, The Paramus Post reported.  This event had judges from the local school system, the store and other companies.  An audience got to sample from the teens’ recipes, which the young chefs spoke about. All were stars for a day.

We feel events like this are great, and would like to see more that center on teen interests – perhaps an after-hours DJ; discussion groups about the latest movies and technology; fantasy league drafts; or even instruction on foods that aid complexion, hair and energy levels as starter topics.