How Will Gen Z Eat?
Move over Millennials, Gen Z is taking over and redefining the food industry. Their shopping style and eating habits will have a significant impact in shaping the food and beverage landscape over the next several years. So what is this demographic of current 11-22 year olds looking for when it comes to food? Here’s what we know:
They Eat Their Food on the Go
Roughly 40% of Gen Z eat their food on the move, which is more than any other generation ever, according to Techmonic’s 2018 Generational Consumer Trend Report. As a result, brands and suppliers are needing to get more creative with their menu items and packaging. We’re seeing more and more food items becoming handheld or bite-sized for easier snacking, while to-go cups are provided by default. With technology allowing them to work on the go, teens and students are no longer sitting at tables to eat their food, but they’re constantly moving, so their food needs to be able to move with them.
They’re Big on Health
Based on a presentation from the Institute of Food Technologists, the Gen Z shopping habits and cooking patterns resemble a lot of their parents. But this is largely due to a lack of experience versus their own personal food values. With 60% of parents to 12-17 year olds saying “no” to their kids’ foods and drinks based on sugar content, this health-conscious attitude has rubbed off. Generation Z has come of age at a time when health and wellness is such a major consideration in food choices, but health also has many meanings for this demographic, including craveable fruits and veggies, better-for-you ingredients and a fresh perspective on treats that were once deemed “unhealthy.” Plus, the food industry has been addressing these sugar concerns with more products boasting low, no or reduced sugar claims.
They also know how to look at nutritional content labels, like avoiding “chemicals” in their foods and opting for more simple ingredients. This is why organic foods-- ensuring no pesticides-- have become so popular in today’s market, as teens are beginning to highly-prioritize what’s not in their foods.
According to a recent report by Hartman Group, with the exception of a few iconic brands, store brands are of equal importance to Gen Z. Having grown up with brands like Trader Joe’s, Simple Truth, and Kirkland, they don’t believe that being a store brand necessarily means the product is inferior to other brands or of lower quality.
They Eat Adventurously.
Being the most diverse generation in US history may help explain the broader palates of Gen Z. They have a better appreciation for international cuisine and are on top of the latest food trends and innovative fusion creations. With 36% of kids interested in Indian restaurants, 38% in Middle Eastern and 27% in African (according to the presentation at IFT), they’re also much more likely to find culinary inspiration from social media and try cooking different dishes from these various cultures on their own. And because of the accessibility of these recipes due to technology, cooking has become a skill that both boys and girls have equally been learning. They’re shopping online a lot more for new and different ingredients to try, not only for convenience sake but because they know cooking their own food is often healthier than going out to restaurants.
“Kids these days” are really paying attention to what they eat, how their food is prepared and where their ingredients come from. Things like quality and freshness are high on their radar, so it’s important to have premium options and high-quality ingredients in their candies as well! Browse our selection of exclusive chocolates and candy to satisfy all the Gen Z cravings!