A key selling point moves to center stage in 2022

Dec. 14, 2021

Baby Boomers pretend to be motivated by it, Gen X is certainly interested in it, but, in reality, the Millennials and Gen Z are truly driven by one new and important selling point that is moving up to center stage in 2022.

New sheriff in town

When offices populate in 2022, there’s going to be a “new sheriff” in town. The traditionally minded Baby Boomer, the decision-maker with whom you dealt, has headed for greener pastures. According to Pew Research, “During the bleak early days of the pandemic, in the third quarter of 2020, nearly 30 million Baby Boomers left the job market and retired.”

AARP says that 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day.

Importance of sustainability

Today’s office decision-makers will have a new set of priorities and coffee service operators will need to be prepared to adapt. While the three key selling points of coffee service have traditionally revolved around quality, service and price, a new priority – sustainability – is now resonating in workplaces more than ever before.

Industry leaders agree

Over the past year, I have discussed sustainability with some of the leading coffee service operators in our industry. Judson Kleinman of Corporate Essentials, Matthew Marsh at First Class, Tom Steuber of Associated, David Baker at Premier and Tammy Stokes of Five Star, among several others, all agree that sustainability is a powerful selling point.

They have all seen it coming, but they concur, in today’s workplace, sustainability is more important than ever, especially with Millennials and Gen Z.

“The pandemic didn’t start the sustainability revolution, but it has put it into hyperdrive, and Gen Z is in the driver’s seat,” wrote Greg Petro in a recent Forbes article that explored how important the sustainability issue has become.

Paying more for sustainability

Petro cited a study that said most Generation Z shoppers prefer to buy sustainable brands and are most willing to spend more on sustainable products. The report also found that “Generation Z along with Millennials are the most likely to make purchase decisions based on values and principles of sustainability.”

Take note: They are willing to pay more because sustainability is that important to them.

Some operator strategies

In a recent video on my b2b Perspective channel, I provided some strategies for convenience services operators on how to sell sustainability, authentically. It is important to put emphasis on the values and principles of sustainability, without coming off as self-serving.

Concepts that resonate

There are several OCS sustainability concepts that will resonate with the new generation of decision-makers. They want to see that your company is:

  • Delivering value to your customers – selling ethically and responsibly.
  • Limiting the environmental impact with your product and service. Are you leaving the world as a better place for future generations?
  • Doing what you can to offer clients some local and regional products that will benefit the local economy and the families of hard-working, small businesspeople – including South American coffee farmers.
  • Providing ongoing opportunity and a healthy, responsible workplace for your own employees.
  • Being generous to the community, including supporting local causes in a meaningful way.

Suppliers deliver sustainability

Over the past year, I have written about several industry suppliers who are offering products that deliver sustainable solutions for operators.

  • ColdSnap will launch a frozen beverage machine next year. The CES Innovation Award winning device uses pods that are fully recyclable. Different pods produce different frozen treats, which are made by the ColdSnap machine.
  • ānsa coffee will launch its micro roaster in 2022. It will allow operators to provide freshly roasted coffee to their clients, right in the comfort of their own breakrooms. Operators will sell green coffee beans to clients, a highly appealing and sustainable farm-to-office path.
  • Marco Beverage and La Colombe Coffee have teamed up to provide bag-in-box cold brew, eliminating much of the carbon footprint associated with storing and transporting kegs. The cold brew flows from Marco’s sleek and stylish POUR’D dispenser.
  • In the coming months, you will hear more about güdpod in office environments. Its 100% compostable Keurig and Nespresso compatible pods are made from 100% renewable materials.

These suppliers and many others are making it very easy for OCS and vending operators to offer sustainable and innovative refreshment solutions to workplaces.

It is who you are, but clients need to know

Of course, many OCS operators have adhered to these principles and values long before doing business the right way carried the label of operating “sustainably.”

Today, it is important that your customers know that sustainability isn’t an act. It is who you are. It is the way you do business. Sustainability occurs because of how you operate your company.

If you can successfully convey that message to prospects and clients in 2022 and beyond, many doors will open for you.

About the Author

Industry consultant and Vending Market Watch contributing editor Bob Tullio is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.” Tullio is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business. Visit tullioB2B.com to learn more about VMW's contributing editor and his b2b services.


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