The Food Institute reports that Gen Z is setting food trends in the post-pandemic world. Their food choices include: ordering in more, choosing frozen foods and most notably, eating more plant-based meals. In a review of how young consumers are influencing food trends, the Institute noted that Gen Z’ers believe you don’t have to be vegan to want to eat more vegan foods.
According to a report from Produce Blue Book, Gen Z’ers, born between 1995 and 2010, are typically known to prefer fresh and wholesome foods. While 79 percent choose to go meatless once or twice a week, 65 percent of Gen Z say they want a more “plant-forward” diet, the study found.
Above all, Gen Z’ers expect their food to have “fresh components,” according to a survey from the American Egg Board. They are more likely to put vegetables at the forefront and couple their meal with a protein, such as an egg. The concept of “flexitarian dining” has been embraced by young consumers.
Integrating vegetarian options without deciding to go fully vegetarian is common among Gen Z consumers, who see vegan options as just another choice on the menu.
When it comes to choosing healthy food, cost is less of an issue for Gen Z’ers compared to Millennials. Nearly half of those surveyed indicated they would be willing to pay more for foods they perceive as healthier, according to a Tufts Nutrition Report.
While cost takes a back seat, convenience is key. As the first generation to grow up with smartphones, Gen Z has become accustomed ordering their next meal at the touch of button, more readily than any generation before them. Whether they are preparing food or ordering in, convenience is a factor to 40 percent of the young consumers.
To this group of consumers, snacks are serious business. The average length of a school lunch break is 25 minutes, which means they often need to rely on snacks to get them through the day or to eat after class to hold them until dinner, another study from the National Restaurant Association reported.
Gen Z is also more likely to try out international or ethnic flavors. Parents report the younger Gen Z (children under 18) enjoy Indian, Middle Eastern and African cuisines.
Considering 75 percent of all Instagram users are from Gen Z, this group also prefers food that is photogenic and worthy of posting to Instagram. Besides sharing photos, both Gen Z and Millennials use Instagram to help them decide where or what to eat next.
Gen Z turned to TikTok, a popular video creation app, both for entertainment and food inspiration during the pandemic, the article noted. The influence of Gen Z as consumers is likely to continue and strengthen, as the generation grows older and starts paying more often with their own credit cards.