Consumers want more information, but they also want more engagement with the products they consume. This is pertinent with baby boomers, but extremely pertinent with younger consumers—particularly the increasingly influential millennials demographic. Says Jeff Hilton of Integrated Marketing Group: “You need to recognize that millennials are different from boomers—almost opposite in many ways. The No. 1 thing is that you have to allow them to participate in your brand. You have to allow them to be able to customize your brand to meet their needs.”
This helps to explain why so many companies are now creating more customizable offerings. If Starbuck’s has taught us anything, it’s that we can have our morning pick-me-up our own way. If we’re not into coffee, we can use our VitaMix to whip up a smoothie packed with superfruits, whey or pea protein, hemp or chia seeds—whatever fits our specific tastes and dietary needs. The real promise of intelligent customization, however, runs much deeper and is expected to emerge in even more significant ways in 2013, as nutritional genomics and other scientific advances enable people to eat the exact foods, in the exact combinations needed by their bodies, as determined by their individual DNA.