Although the exact years are a little fuzzy, many analysts characterize Generation Z as people born between 1995 and 2010, meaning that the oldest members are finding jobs and finishing school. Some are still living at home, others in dorm rooms, but a portion have moved into college apartments or their first places.
Susan Schwaillie, executive director of the NPD Group, is among those tracking the dining habits of Gene, which has an estimated $44 billion in buying power. In general, Gene members are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Schwaillie said last week at Camp Bacon, an annual event put on by Zinger man's in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Where other youngsters their age might have chosen junk food and soda, Gene has “adaptogenic qualities of taste profiles” that researchers haven't seen before, Schwaillie says. In particular, Gene displays a growing interest in vegetarian and vegan food, many citing ethical reasons.
“I didn't give up meat because of the taste, but out of moral principle,” says Batik, a student in New York City. Despite being known for its hearty corned beef and Reuben sandwiches, Zinger man's Deli has added numerous vegetarian offerings over the years, says cofounder ARI Maintain.
Last year, Bob Bennett, the chef at Zinger man's Roadhouse, developed a vegan Southwest Vegetable soup, which has a sweet potato broth base. Schwaillie says food service companies have experienced an explosion in sales of meat substitutes in just the past two years.
Specifically, today’s teens often put together their own breakfasts, select their own lunches, and make their own snacks. Our research finds that seven in ten (70%) of Gene say they have “total control” over what they eat for snacks.
With so much independence in the kitchen, marketers should keep a watchful eye on GenZ’s early behaviors, as we believe they will inform their shopping, planning, prep, cooking, and eating behaviors later in life. Gene have been feeding themselves, often by themselves, for many years by the time they graduate high school.
Continuing longer-term trends, their eating habits prioritize meals in favor of snacks. At the same time, they grew up watching food-as-entertainment and have many sources of instruction and inspiration at their fingertips.
This combination of independence and information has resulted in a generation that is curious, capable, and confident in the kitchen, regardless of gender. For many consumers, solitary dining is a new way of eating that can be customized and personalized and is often an occasion looked forward to.
And they have nearly $250 billion in spending power, according to Techno mic Inc., so it’s worth your time to pursue them with appealing flavors and styles they crave. From middle school and beyond, their tastes broaden to include more flavors, combinations, and global variety.
If your kitchen isn’t ready to roll out a lineup of Middle Eastern or Guatemalan specialties, don’t despair. Techno mic says older Gene diners in particular show a willingness to visit restaurants that feature innovative flavors or ingredients.
An August survey by food-management.com asked college and university food service professionals about Gene appetites, and they found a flair for adventure. More authentic and varied global offerings, such as Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, Korean, and Middle Eastern.
FOND International, a company that specializes in sweet and savory flavors for the food and beverage industry, says leading flavors among young people include berry, citrus fruit, chocolate, vanilla, and marshmallow. Techno mic Inc.’s Generation Consumer Trend Report backs this up, pointing out that restaurants able to use menu words such as local, authentic, farm-raised, organic, and free-range, attract Gene customers willing to pay more for products that support social responsibility.
Because Gene diners enjoy social experiences, it pays to think like Starbucks. For a generation mostly too young to drink adult beverages, coffee shops provide a sophisticated, inviting atmosphere (and don’t forget Wi-Fi access).
Speaking of beverages, Gene likes soda and will order it frequently, but this generation also is more likely than any of the others to order lemonade, bottled water, fruit juice, or smoothies, so it helps to highlight these profit-generating options. Available 24 hours a day, Minted's global public relations team is pleased to provide accredited journalists with access to our research, arrange interviews with our expert analysts and share the latest insights across categories and countries.
Generation Z *, who are also known as the generation, has the potential to reset expectations for health and wellness, increase the reach of international cuisine and heighten creativity in the kitchen, according to the latest research from Minted. Presented today (July 16) at IFT18, Minted reveals how the diverse and tech-savvy Generation Z is set to transform food and beverage formulation in the coming years.
In fact, one quarter (25%) of teens aged 15-17 say they worry about staying healthy, with another 49% agreeing that they think drinking soda is unhealthy. However, health is multi-faceted for this group, suggesting that better-for-you formulations, such as craveable fruits and vegetables, can be expanded to give this generation options that fit with their ever-changing diet priorities,” said Dana Make, Associate Director, Lifestyles and Leisure Reports, at Minted.
Today’s younger generations are the most diverse in US history and in addition to their varied racial and ethnic backgrounds, parents are raising their children to have broader palates. These adventurous habits are creating opportunities across categories, presenting potential for products such as Tikki masala meal kits or Chinese Peking duck-flavored potato chips.
This highlights an opportunity for food and drink brands to offer do-it-yourself experiences that help teens, teens and young adults be creative and, eventually, confident in the kitchen. This younger generation’s easy access to technology and interest in being creative presents an opening for interactive products that encourage Gene to safely experiment and extend their passion for food and drink, such as chips that allow consumers to make their own flavor or kits to make more complex recipes or international meals at home,” concluded Ziegler.
Millennials are anxious about their lack of skills, one Canadian study found: only 31 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds felt confident in the kitchen, as opposed to nearly half of adults over 50. That lack of confidence may lead them to repeat rote, uninspiring meals: According to a study commissioned by the British retailer and service provider Co-Op, one third of millennials rely on a handful of dishes they know well.
Yes, Gen Zs spend lots of time on social media, and they often get depressed because of it. Indeed, Gen Zs, unlike the rest of us, tend to avoid formal political partisanship.
Yet, all these idiosyncrasies we of older generations see as faults could be the main sources of GenZ's awesomeness. Of course, that might seem inconsistent with our stereotypes of teenagers spending endless hours on social media.
Those same researchers found Gen Zs look to their predecessors for direction towards that challenge. The problem is we predecessors haven't created environments where Gen Zs can thrive.
More of our time and effort is spent trying to protect our own positions of authority over them or, in the case of advertisers, exploiting them. We don’t actively seek out how to work with and cultivate Gen Zs.
As its advertisers continue to exit, that largely Gen X staffed company is realizing the power of voting with one's feet. Yet, it would be a mistake to dismiss the phenomenon as a noisy expression of discontent by a single ethnic or gender group.
Thus, Gen Zs didn't wait for mom, dad or grandpa to influence what they should do or weigh in. Moreover, when combined with the creative genius of influencers who provide guidance, that's real power.
Thus, rather than allowing social discontent with the status quo to throw the baby (boomers) out with the bath water, intergenerational cooperation might build a better future for everyone. Similarly, it would be a mistake to assume Gen Zs, sympathizing with protests, are political extremists.
To Gen XS and Millennials, that seems like crazy laziness. Viewed from a Gen Z perspective, however, most politicians on both sides of the aisle are akin to bad YouTubers, worthy of much down voting.
As a result, while older generations seem more easily convinced by the promises of politicians, Gen Zs are harder to win over. The net effect is that they are more resilient, more unified and more able to exact change directly than most other cohorts.
And the vast majority of Gen Zs are intolerant of extreme views which threaten that unity. Thus, to use Gene terminology, there’s some scientific basis for believing Generation Z is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
And, if Gen Zs are not the most awesome right now, they are in terms of their future potential. With the right support and guidance by older generations, Gene could help the latter solve many of their own problems.
… Read More former banking executive and public board member, Tony is the CEO of Conquer Risk, a boutique advisory firm that helps organizations pursue growth, build resilience and manage disruption by implementing intelligent, strategic risk frameworks. A Princeton-educated, behavioral scientist, Tony was a PhD student of Nobel laureates John Nash and Daniel Baseman.