Millennials and Gen Z: The generations benefiting from modern food choices

Aug 06, 2018 editor

How can we support innovation and consumer awareness in modern day branding for Millennials and Gen Z, and who exactly are they anyway!?

According to a recent study by The University Caterer’s Organisation (TUCO), Millennials and Gen Z are reaping the benefits of modernity in their food choices, as ‘The most trend aware generation of diners’.

The recent TUCO reports claims that Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, value experiences over material goods- dining out more than any other generation. This group are very important in consumer markets with spending powers estimated at $10 trillion over their lifetimes in the US (Forbes 2018). Millennials are particularly susceptible to food trends according to Y-Pulse, 50% describing themselves as ‘foodies’. Although this generation are keen to share and follow food trends on social media and keep up with their peers, they also care about the health, organic and ethical credentials of their food.

Gen Z are the latest and still forming generation, typically born after the mid-nineties, making them between 13-23 years old now. They are impacted on by having only ever lived in a world with a global war on terror and the aftermath of a recession which hit their parents and older siblings. Gen Z are more responsible and pragmatic in their choices, favouring entrepreneurial independence. This generation, despite their digital status, are more likely to make sensible choices in health and in their career. Social media is the way to connect with this generation and generally they are active on any number of platforms daily. They have a strong sense of buying power while swaying their household food choices more than any other young generation. Gen Z are not intentional ‘foodies’ but are the product of a social dialogue for fast and convenient eating, either out or at home using digital inspiration. According to the TUCO report, organic, fresh and healthy are the key drivers for Gen Z food choices and this group are more likely to spend money on casual dining than on clothing. It is key to note that this generation are the most multicultural in terms of food, as they look for brands with purpose and ethical consciousness.

So what can we take from the report to support consumer awareness in modern day branding;

  • Consideration of quality is now more important than ever. With infinite choices pushed on us through the internet, selection is now no longer just about what is best value for money, but best value for the world as the negative impact of out behaviours on the planet is becoming understood. War on plastics, ethical sourcing, sustainability and political consideration all account for the selection of products.
  • Egocentrism, products cannot simply provide a basic value, and should promote to satisfy an emotional, sensorial and spiritual value
  • Fact based promotion is now very important for consumers who have been lied to or misled in an ‘unprecedented state of confusion’. Reassurances and security are what are important to young consumers.
  • Altruism, there has been a shift away from allegiance to a particular religious or political institution and young customers need a sense of sensitive consumerism. Community and inclusiveness inspire and empower these generations.
  • Technology cannot be underestimated, and these generations have come to expect a level of shock and awe when it comes to achievement with technology. Embracing this in the natural world to find solutions and creativity are what this generation increasingly expect as a reality.

Picture credit

TUCO Report on Trends 2018;