Attention grocers: Why you should refine your message to Millennials.

“By 2018, $65 billion in grocery spending will shift from Boomers to Millennials.” That’s what Barbara Ford, Senior VP of AMG Strategic Advisors, said in the February 24th issue of Supermarket News.

Millennials will soon represent close to 80 million consumers, and they have shopping characteristics you should consider in your marketing:

Millennials are concerned about sustainability. In a NewGeography article, How Green are Millennials?, Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais assert: “Of course, Millennials are the most environmentally conscious generation in the nation’s history. Almost two-thirds of Millennials believe global warming is real and 43% of them think that it is caused by human activity, levels much higher than among all other generations.”

Okay, no surprise there. But they also have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty, and unemployment than any other generation in the modern era, as stated in a report issued by the Pew Research Center titled Millennials in Adulthood.

How might this play out in regard to buying habits? While they feel pressure to be price conscious, they may also be willing to pay more for what they care about. The key is selectivity.

Millennials are beyond techno-savvy. They’re digitally native. The Pew report also refers to this generation as “‘digital natives’ — the only generation for which these new technologies are not something they’ve had to adapt to.” Moreover, Millennials are networked with over three times more friends, colleagues, and affinity groups than most Boomers.

Meaning: Millennials crave and consume information in high doses, and they pass this information along to vast amounts of people.

Some strategies you might consider for engaging Millennials at the shelf edge:

Given their penchant for both social responsibility and technology, Millennials tend to ask lots of questions and seek peer-validated information before they buy.

• Catchwords such as sustainable, grass-fed, local, organic, and hormone-free help create an emotional connection, but only if they’re believable. Here’s where objective, third-party data-supported reviews such as those provided by HowGood, NuVal®, and Gladson, can speak volumes. These information-packed ratings systems can help you disseminate data at a glance, right on the shelf tag.

• The addition of four-color product images helps quicken identification between product and tag, shortening response time for short-attention span, media-saturated shoppers.

• QR and other mobile tagging codes allow for sharing information, building communities, and calls to action.

In the end, Millennials are really looking for assurance — which can be initiated on the shelf tag — that what they’re about to buy is not only a value, but is also aligned with their values. You accomplish that, and you’ll reach the new majority of your consumer market.