Generation Z Begins To Shape Food Trends.
CHICAGO -- The growing influence of Americans born since 1997, called Generation Z, on the food industry is the subject of a new study by NPD Group Inc.
By virtue of their upbringing, Gen Zers are unintentional foodies and were raised in a culture that talks about, celebrates and entertains with food, according to "Make it Happen for Gen Zs," an NPD report based on the study.
About 27% of the U.S. population are members of Gen Z. The group grew up understanding the purpose of food and how it fits into a well-lived life, according to NPD. As a result, this generational cohort has set expectations that food and food brands will follow their needs, and not the other way around.
"The more I study trends in retailing, food service and eating patterns, the more I become convinced that the macro themes emerging in consumption behavior are generationally driven," David Portalatin, the report's author, said in a statement. "Gen Zers will be a seismic force for the food industry as they emerge into adulthood under more prosperous economic circumstances, yet with their own differentiating set of values."
Gen Zers are told at an early age what their food can do for them in terms of functional and nutritional value and not just how it tastes, bringing a new definition to the "value" of food, NPD asserts in the report.
Gen Zers prefer food and beverages with transparent labeling and an absence of artificial ingredients, NPD said. In addition, they are skeptical of big brands and too many label claims.
Members of this generation seek personalization, engagement and fluidity to meet the needs of their busy lives.
Growing up with a greater emphasis on flavor and function rather than brand will make Gen Zers more challenging for food marketers to reach, NPD concludes in the report.