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Grocery shopping from the Millennial mindset

Tuesday, July 12 2016 12:00am

How students applied what they learned to investigate Millennial eating habits for Gatesman+Dave.

By Brianna Wilson

Last week, you learned how the Consumer Research Center, or CRC, integrated a project for Kroger into an MBA classroom. This week, we’re focusing on how they investigated Millennial eating habits for Gatesman+Dave in an undergraduate classroom.

About the Gatesman+Dave project

Last fall, Hiler’s undergraduate students helped Pittsburg-based marketing communications agency Gatesman+Dave investigate shifts in grocery store offerings.

Two of Hiler’s marketing classes set out to answer why Millennials aren’t shopping at grocery stores as much as previous generations; one focusing on cooking habits, the other on grocery store shopping habits.

Throughout the course of the semester, students designed and executed surveys, focus groups, and in-depth individual interviews. They then analyzed the data and prepared a final report and presentation.

“The results showed that Millennials aren’t forgoing grocery stores completely, they are simply looking for more ready-to-prepare meal options in them,” said Hiler.

That research-based takeaway was useful for Gatesman+Dave, and, according to Hiler, they were pleased with the results of the project.

About integrating the CRC into classrooms

Ohio University’s College of Business has always focused on applied learning experiences, but they recently upped the ante.

“We believe in applied learning—and students appreciate it when they’re doing research for a real client and can truly see the impact of their work,” said Chris Moberg, associate dean of OHIO’s College of Business.

That’s why marketing professors partnered with the CRC to bring client projects into the classroom. Usually, students apply to become fellows for the CRC, and then can work on research projects for top consumer brands like Kellogg’s, Dairy Queen, Rocky Brands, and The J.M. Smucker Company—but integrating certain projects into coursework allowed more students to get involved. In turn, it allowed the CRC to offer companies more work, without compromising quality.

“I would have loved to have such an experience in an undergraduate classroom—or an MBA classroom for that matter,” said Jacob Hiler, assistant professor of marketing. “The opportunities we’re providing students are invaluable. They prepare our students for the real world, and help them stand out to employers.”

What’s next?

This year—and in the future—the CRC will continue to incorporate CRC projects into the classroom.

“They provide valuable learning opportunities for students, while matching course learning outcomes,” said Katie Hartman, chair of the marketing department. “The projects help students build a unique and in-demand skillset by allowing them to understand, analyze, and develop insights, recommendations, and ideas.”

About the CRC

Founded in 2014, the CRC gives students the opportunity to gain marketing research experience through semester-long research projects for top consumer brands.

The center has conducted research utilizing surveys, focus groups, interviews, physiological measures, customer intercepts, store mystery shoppers, and secondary research analysis for The J.M. Smucker Company, Dairy Queen, Burger King, Grange Insurance, Gatesman+Dave, Rocky Brands, Kellogg’s, and more.

Learn more about the CRC online and follow their journey at #OHIOcrc.