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Millennials even influence how you grocery shop

Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Target are winning millennial loyalty. Millennials now have 21 percent of discretionary consumer purchasing power, which is equal to $1.3 trillion a year. (MyNorthwest.com Photo/File)

The generation born between 1977 and 2000, or "millenials," are often portrayed as a group of lazy and entitled Facebookers and Instagrammers.

But they're growing up and getting powerful - even in your grocery store.

There are more than 80 million millennials, making their generation larger than both Baby Boomers and Generation X.

Forty million of them are already parents, with 9,000 moms giving birth on a daily basis.

Millennials now have 21 percent of discretionary consumer purchasing power, which is equal to $1.3 trillion a year.

They have major influence on trends in several different marketplaces, but perhaps most notably, the generation has sway over the shelves in America's grocery stores.

It's created a battle between the nation's biggest grocery chains for a share of the millennial dollar.

Jeff Fromm, from millennialmarketing.com and author of "Marketing to Millennials" says there are early leaders emerging in the fight for their dollars.

"We've never seen this kind of generation have an influence on other generations. You're looking at a category that was successfully interrupted by two major players - Target and Whole Foods."

He says Target disrupted the model for "big box" stores, while Whole Foods changed the landscape for specialty and premium food buyers.

The misunderstood group of young Americans has the ability to influence not only each other, but older demographics of consumers.

"I just think that people have a lot of myths about millennials that are not grounded in reality. This is the first generation that's not just willing to pay for quality, but influencing the perceptions of quality among a broader audience."

He says their influence, in part comes from social media - but it also comes from who they are generationally.

Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Target are winning millennial loyalty, but Fromm says most grocery retailers feel optimistic they can revive their brand. It will be a struggle, but even chains struggling with identity, like Safeway, can reassert themselves as market forces.

What it takes is reinforcing two simple messages: meaningfulness, and uniqueness.

Fromm says all the major retailers lagging behind have a chance to regain market share, except one: 7/11.

MyNorthwest.com's Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.

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