Six Generation Z Food Trends

Everyone likes to talk about millennial’s consumer trends: what they’re buying, how they’re buying it, and what they’re doing next. But within the world consumer economy, millennials are no longer top of the heap. That title belongs to Generation Z.

Generation Z (commonly referred to as Gen Z) are all people who are now between 8 and 25 years old, and currently make up a whopping 26% of the US population. Their purchasing power goes even further – this year, they’re predicted to become 40% of all consumers, spending a total of $143 billion nationwide.

They’re also generous buyers, with 75% of Gen Zers spending more than half the money available to them every month. Even the Gen Z members without their own income wield enormous influence, with 70% of family food purchases being influenced by their preferences.

These numbers will only increase as more and more of Gen Z members come of age and enter the workforce. So how do we keep ahead of their preferences? Here are six Generation Z trends every food and agriculture company should know.


1. They want healthier foods

Compared to previous generations, Gen Z is much more health-conscious. They prefer nutritious products and are much more likely to look for organic and natural food choices. They’re also willing to pay more for the right products. A recent survey involving 30,000 consumers across 60 countries, found that not only are Gen Zers looking for healthier options, but they’re willing to pay a premium price for it. While Baby Boomers and Millennials will pay some premium for healthier food (21% and 32% respectively), a whopping 41% of Gen Zers will pay more for food they perceive as better for them.


2. They’re communicaholics 

Gen Zers are constantly on their phones, but they’re not just consuming content. They’re talking. Gen Zers are always communicating with their friends, with strangers, and with brands. Gone are the days when companies can expect marketing to be a one-way street. Gen Zers expect two-way communication with their favorite food brands. 40% of Gen Zers provide digital reviews often, and 76% report the expectation that brands respond to their feedback.

The onus is now on food companies to listen and adjust. Those who adapt will thrive.


3. They prefer real to ideal

The picture-perfect, pie-in-the-sky advertisements of yesteryear are out. Whereas older generations could be gulled in with unrealistic marketing messages, Gen Zers see through them. Instead, today’s young people prefer a pragmatic, truthful view of the world. 63% of Gen Zers trust ads showing real people over ads showing celebrities or an unrealistically perfect life.


Gen Z 2C4. They care about world impact

The world’s well-being is important to Gen Z, and they’re willing to take action to protect it. Among Gen Zers…

•76% are concerned about humanities impact on the world

•60% want their job to impact the world

•26% currently volunteer for charitable causes

•60% are willing to boycott or support a brand pending its stance on a social or political issue.


5. They’re Digital natives

While other generations adopted the internet and mobile technology, Generation Z was born into and raised in it. Digital connection is a natural extension of themselves and how they live their day to day lives. This means not only ordering products and food online, but also using the internet to research before they buy. Of Generation Z consumers, 47% reported researching potential purchases on mobile devices while in brick-and-mortar stores. That means that even in grocery stores and restaurants, Gen Z’s digital connection can’t be ignored. As such, food companies should look for ways to provide the information they crave in an easy-to-reach, intuitive way.


6. They’re foodies

We saved the best news for last: more so than any past generation, Gen Zers are foodies. They care about what they eat, and love to do it. 19% of US Gen Zers report that food is their passion and an essential part of their lifestyle and identity, compared to 16% of millennials. It’s not just fashion companies that can now be lifestyle brands – food companies are now welcome too.

Marketing to Gen Z can be a challenge, but with some work, it’s an even bigger opportunity. Food companies that stay ahead of the health and transparency trends will reap the benefits and prosper for decades to come. Will yours be among them?



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