Gen Z is a group of young adults that are unique in many ways, including their food interests and eating habits. This generation has grown up in a world with high technological advancement and increasing cultural diversity, so it makes sense that their food preferences have evolved to reflect these changes.
One of the most significant food trends among Gen Z is the increasing popularity of plant-based diets. Many young adults are choosing to reduce or eliminate meat and dairy from their diets for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. This trend has led to the rise of vegetarian and vegan options in restaurant, as well as an increase in plant-based protein alternatives. Even throughout most grocery stores, there are now aisles that cater directly to plant-based options allowing customers to have easy access to that alternative. More and more recipes are being formulated with plant-based options allowing one to fully customize their meal according to their preferences.
Ethnic and International Cuisine
Gen Z is also known for their love of ethnic and international cuisine. This generation grew up with access to global cuisine, and they have developed a taste for foods from all corners of the world. Young adults are eager to try new flavors and dishes, and they are often drawn to the authentic and traditional preparations of international cuisine. With having this knowledge, restaurants can strategically add these cuisine styles onto their menu and that will be seen as a big factor for Gen Z while determining a restaurant to eat at.
Healthy Convenience Foods
Another trend among Gen Z is the demand for healthy convenience foods. Young adults are often busy and on-the-go, but they don't want to sacrifice nutrition for convenience. As a result, there is a growing market for pre-packaged snacks and meals that are high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. This desire from Gen Z has now become a desire for many individuals wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Healthy and convenient has been a phenomenon that has been exploding over the internet with young adults sharing their insider recipes. A way that this trend could relate to a restaurant would be having healthy options available for takeout. With society wanting the option to eat from home, but not have to make a meal, having this healthy alternative would score big.
Sustainability and Local Sourcing
Gen Z is also concerned about sustainability and the environment. They are interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it is produced. Many young adults prefer to buy locally sourced food, and they are also looking for products that use eco-friendly packaging and production methods. Restaurants that are less likely to care about these issues will be noticed by this demographic which could see a negative engagement. Not only is packaging important, but the way that food waste is handled is an important factor as well. It is not a secret of how companies get rid of their extra food or store it, so looking into ways to better handle this area is essential.
Food as an Experience
Finally, Gen Z sees food as more than just fuel for the body. They view food as an experience and an opportunity for socializing and sharing. Young adults are interested in unique dining experiences, such as pop-up restaurants and food festivals, as well as cooking classes and food tours. Participating in local events with a tent or booth showcasing the restaurant, would be a great way of getting exposure. Young adults tend to use restaurants or food events as their place of interacting with another individual and spending that quality time together. People want to pay for an experience rather than just a material object. Food tends to be that common ground for this generation to be able to come together over a meal and engage in social interaction. Almost every big-time event where there are people, there is food. The two will always be paired together.
These trends are shaping the food industry and will continue to influence the way we eat for years to come. It is important keep up with consumer trends when running a business otherwise many restaurants will miss out on sales and engagement. Gen Z is willing to go outside of their comfort zone to try new things, so catering to the trends above will help provide success for businesses all over.
Be sure to keep up with SGC’s blogs as we are constantly updating and posting new trends and helpful tips!