Gen Z is the largest and most diverse generation, encompassing those born between 1997 and 2010. While only young they have had a great deal of impact on retail and e-commerce. Touted as the first digitally native generation, Gen Z grew up in the age of mobile phones and rapid information gathering. And with Gen-Z on track to become the most influential generation of consumers it is high time to supercharge your marketing efforts towards this trendsetting generation.
Representing up to $143 billion in buying power, Gen Z exercises influence over their households thanks to their digital literacy. Food and drink rank as the most loved category for Gen Z spending, closely followed by going out with friends.
Comparable to millennials in their demand for ethical products that are sustainably sourced and include bold flavour combinations, Gen Z desire brand transparency and adventurous culinary delights.
Health and Wellness:
Gen Z is health-conscious. Almost half of Gen Z use apps that monitor their health, wellness or fitness. In comparison, just under 30% of consumers over the age of 35 have a health app.
Gen Z is paving the way for natural foods. More likely to be vegetarians this health-conscious demographic crave organic food without the preservatives. Veganism is on the rise with this health-conscious generation, over 75% of Gen Z actively try to reduce their consumption of meat and animal products. Inheriting the health-conscious ways of Millenials, just over 50% of Gen Z believe that sugar should not be included in a healthy diet.
Gen Z is officially the stressed-out generation with over 55% stating that they feel overwhelmed due to their workload. As a result, they are in favour of convenient health foods that fit in with their busy lifestyle. Frozen meals and on the go protein bars are consumer favourites. Gen Z’s fondness for portable snacks with a health focus has helped contribute to the rise in on the go breakfast bars and quick meal replacement drinks such as nutritious smoothies.
Environmental concerns plague Gen Z. 37% avoid using plastics, 35% buy items with less packaging, 30% look for products with environmentally friendly packaging and 24% choose brands that promote sustainable practices. This desire for sustainability is seen in consumption habits. Gen Z is willing to pay higher prices for food items that are eco-friendly and sustainable. 62% would pay more for locally produced food, 52% for organic and 39% for ethically produced products.
More concerned with social accountability than Millenials, Gen Z looks for brands who are transparent about their products. Brands environmental and social-political ethics are a driving force for purchasing products. Statements on workplace diversity and gender divide are popular with this generation and influence the continuous support a brand can receive. A willingness to pay higher prices for products which align with their social responsibility illustrates this need.
More adventures than millennials, Gen Z enjoy novel food and beverages. As the most diverse generation, Gen Z has cultivated an Interest in International cuisine. Over half of Gen Z dinners say they enjoy trying different foods and prefer bold profiles and unique flavour combinations. Their adventurous habits have helped create sizable opportunities for innovative flavour fusions including Peking Duck with Hoisin sauce flavoured crisps. As the more adventurous generation it comes with no surprise that they are more likely to use vouchers for new products and explore new recipes with the help of social media.
Don't underestimate the power of social media. Gen Z is most likely to find culinary inspiration from social media than older generations. Raspberry is one of the top flavours in both food and drinks thanks to its instagrammable pink hue. Activated charcoal was a popular addition to foods last year thanks to its dark colour which gives items an unmissable earthy tone. A product of Instagram, Charcoal grew in popularity and soon found its way into burger buns and ice cream cones. Currently, bubble tea reigns supreme as the most loved instagrammable trend.
Tik Tok Hacks:
Welcome to the world of 60-second videos where Gen-Zers show the world their food hacks. Featuring meal prep shortcuts, innovative flavour combos and chain restaurant imitations, Tik Tok is a myriad for the latest trends in food and drinks.
Gen Z consumes less alcohol than previous generations. Flavour is favoured over high abv. Gen Z is consuming more than 20% less alcohol than Millenials. Influenced in part by the importance placed on mental health, 41% of the sober generation associate alcohol with ‘vulnerability’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘abuse’.
Gen Z’s influence on the food and drink industry has been overwhelming. The constant consumption of media has promoted a generation to seek international inspiration for food and drink consumption and has provided the grounds for an influential, trend-setting generation. As analysts have predicted that Gen Z’s influence will continue to expand, buyers need to respond accordingly to this. Now is the time to take note of this powerful generation.