HOUSTON — Understanding consumer elasticities and marketing strategies was a common topic among speakers at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) 2024 annual event, held June 9-11 in Houston. In keeping with this theme, Steve Zurek, VP of sales development at NielsenIQ, explored distinct CPG trends and the differing generational behaviors of consumers in his presentation on the What’s in Store Live Stage.

Zurek highlighted two crucial pieces of social commerce: social influencers and brand curation. TikTok Shop, a spawn of the social media platform specifically curated for brands to sell their products directly, has seen massive growth in numerous categories.


“It’s the number 29 total food retailer in the country, and it’s only been stood up since September 2023,” Zurek explained. “Every new shopper that comes into the marketplace is digitally native, so you need to be where your shoppers are digitally because they are scouring the internet. They are looking for deals in very different, nonlinear ways.”

Innovating for different generations

A few emerging themes Zurek touched on within the consumer community include:

  • Shoppers are thinking differently about their “path to acquisition,” meaning between online and in-store.
  • Pre-shopping is robust, and trip influencers are becoming more digital.
  • Social influencers and brand curation have real potential to upset traditional manufacturer/retailer selling processes.
  • The future of retail is becoming more dynamic and fueled by technology and data.

Speaking about the average shopper, Zurek explained that there are eight different ways to purchase the same product, specifically referencing Etsy, Amazon, in-store shopping and social commerce. Because of this, brands no longer have a linear path to their customers.

“2030 is going to be a pivotal year,” Zurek said. “All the baby boomers will be 65 years or older. Older adults are going to outnumber children for the first time in US history. All of Gen Z will be 18 years and older, so we have five marketing cycles to anticipate all of that.”


“Just because you might have 100 years under your belt as a company does not mean that you can’t find a new audience with the same product. If you search for those actively, that’s one way of bringing sales back into your company.” — Steve Zurek | VP of sales development | NielsenIQ


Innovation with purpose is a crucial element in appealing to each of the economy’s generations. With a heightened focus on social responsibility, Zurek explained that members of Gen Z tend to shop for clean-label, health-conscious items, while older generations focus on their personal experiences with specific brands. However, Gen Z is the fastest-growing demographic in the number of buyers across the store, which off-sets the decline of baby boomer shoppers.

“Boomers are concerned about what’s going on with sustainability,” Zurek commented. “They’ve got all kinds of different health needs. Every day for them is thinking about their health.”

Hooking into the health trend, Zurek explained that companies should be willing to spend more on brand quality that can appeal to targeted consumers.


Social shopping

Younger generations have diverse taste profiles and are often influenced by various social media outlets.

“What’s really interesting about the influencer piece to all of our businesses is that we’re seeing a lot of brands that are being heard on social media platforms that aren’t in retail,” Zurek explained. “But we’re seeing retailers going to these brands eventually and saying, ‘What can I do to get you into my store?’”

As this is non-traditional purchasing, the relationship between brands and retailers is curated on social media. By embracing social shopping, business owners can gain the traction these brands have experienced.

Zurek presented final thoughts for consideration, such as attracting targeted shoppers, promoting products that convey brand value, and building community awareness for new audiences.

“Just because you might have 100 years under your belt as a company does not mean that you can’t find a new audience with the same product,” Zurek concluded. “If you search for those actively, that’s one way of bringing sales back into your company.”