Generation Z Will Influence the Future of Food & Beverage Innovation

Companies are now looking harder at Generation Z on how they will impact the future of the food and beverage industry. Generation Z or the iGeneration precedes the millennials. They have the potential to change expectations when it comes to health and wellness and also increase the reach of different cuisines from all over the world. In a recent survey conducted by Mintel, they looked in-depth at the reasons why this tech-savvy generation will transform the food and beverage industry.

Head Start On The Healthy Lifestyle

Born from health-conscious late Generation X and early Millennial parents, Generation Z has an early head start on the healthy lifestyle. The Mintel study suggests that 25% of teens between 15 and 17 years old worry about staying healthy. 11% of the respondents claimed that they had low or reduced sugar intake compared to their counterparts. The reason for this is that their parents are always on the lookout when it comes to their health, and as a result, it is natural for them to build healthy habits. In fact, the youngest consumers are increasingly growing in terms of living health-conscious lifestyles such that 49% of the respondents believe that drinking soda is unhealthy. According to Dana Macke, Associate Director for Lifestyle and Leisure Reports from Mintel; this generation has grown up when health and wellness became a major consideration.

They Are Culturally Aware

This generation is the most diverse in the history of the United States. They come from varied ethnic and racial backgrounds or they are raised from parents who have broader palates thus they are more culturally aware in terms of food. This is the reason why 36% of the responded seem to have an appreciation for international cuisine not only limited to Italian, Chinese, and Mexican. In fact, there are more respondents who enjoy cuisines such as Indian (36%), Middle Eastern (38%), and African (27%). This food appreciation may drive the consumption of emerging international food and beverages. The reason for this is social media. They also use social media to cook different types of food with more than 60% of the respondents claiming that they cook international food at home using social media compared to the 40% and 23% of Millennials and Generation X; respectively.

Their exposure to international food starts at a very young age, so they are more likely to try out the latest international food trend or innovate on food. The adventurous food habits have led to products that feature a fusion of different cultures such as salted duck potato chops, tikka masala meal kits, and many others.

The Digital World Will Influence The Future of Food & Beverage

This generation has been raised in an era where exposure to digital media is rampant. Since they can access information 24/7, the younger generations have grown to have excellent researching skills. Their digital upbringing helps them learn about new cuisines and experiment on them. This trend is making them more creative, passionate, curious, and accepting than the other older demographics.

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Generation Z Prefers Snacking Than Eating Full Meals

In this fast-paced society, many people prefer snacking over eating a sit-down meal because they don’t have enough time. This is the reason why many people opt to grab something quick for breakfast because convenience is critical. Generation Z is a driving force in this switch to convenient snacking from traditional sit-down meals.

The Benefits of Snacking

As such, many consumers are looking for ways to curb their hunger and satisfy their appetites. Snacking is a cheaper, faster, and more viable option than eating full meals. Today, convenience is everything as time is a scarce commodity for most people. But this does not mean that people should forgo nutrition to save more time.

It is crucial to start the day by opting for healthy choices and eating smart. For example, people who want to save time can eat five smaller and separate snacks for lunch. By doing so, they can avoid waves of hunger thus increasing productivity levels. By snacking more often, it allows the stomach to digest food more smoothly, so you do not feel lethargic after consuming a big meal.

Food Manufacturers Are Supporting the Generation Z Snacking Trend

The increased propensity towards snacking among Generation Z is the reason why many food manufacturers are also developing nutrient-dense snacks that can be an excellent alternative to full meals. These include protein bars, protein powders, and other meal replacement products. The development of these food products has also coincided with increased activity levels of consumers. These food items are no longer just favorite among athletes but even students carry them in their backpack so that they can have their meals on the go.

Today, many snacks are made from a wide variety of nutritious ingredients and these include meats, dairy, grains, and fruits. Most food manufacturers are also making snacks that contain ingredients that are exotic and healthy to attract Generation Z consumers. Examples of popular snack items include granola and protein bars as they are kept for longer periods of time. Aside from convenience, people opt for snacks that also have longer shelf lives so that even if they leave them in the fridge or their bag, they are still edible after a day.

The Future of Snacking

Gone are the days when snacking is associated with eating something in between meals. There are so many benefits of snacking. Snacking is definitely replacing full sit-down meals. To support this trend, many food manufacturers are providing people with more better for you snacking options. To date, it is easy for people to find quality snacks that can fuel them throughout the day. With snacking having a big following among Generation Z, it is likely that we will see a lot of meal alternatives in the future. This is definitely a generation of practicality and efficiency.

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