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How Gen-Z is rewriting the food rulebook

Every new generation seems to rewrite the retail rulebook. This is the same with Generation Z — the marketing term for those born between 1997 and 2010 — and they appear to be having an expedited impact. Much of this can be attributed to the way rapid technological advancements are interwoven into the fabric of Gen-Z lives. This impact is not only extending to the more familiar areas of consumer technology and with job expectations, it is also reaching out to food.

Valley Fine Foods’ Research & Culinary Innovations Chef PJ Pawelek has been studying the changing food landscape and he has developed insights into how the eating habits of Gen-Z are reverberating throughout the culinary industry.

Pawelek’s insights are outlined below. One message from these trends is that food brands will need to adapt and evolve in order to interact with Gen-Z over the next few years.

Gen-Z skews more heavily towards vegetarian diets

The oldest Gen-Zers are just 22-year-old and the youngest are 9, making the fact that 7 percent of Gen-Z identify as vegetarian a key statistic. To put this into perspective, just 12 percent of Millennials claim that, 11 percent of Boomers, and 8 percent of Gen-Xers. This number will also likely rise as more Gen-Z’ers mature enough to make that decision for themselves.

They know what they want from their food

Much like their millennial counterparts, Gen-Z are adamant that the food they put in their bodies have a level of transparency that simply didn’t exist 15 years ago. Unlike their millennial counterparts, they are less likely to take matters in their own hands and DIY their own food at home. They expect brands to be transparent.

Smaller bites trump big meals

This one is more about habits than principles, but Gen-Z, having grown up at the height of the tapas craze, are more likely to put together a meal of smaller components like appetizers and small plates, rather than sit down for one big gut-busting meal. It fits in with the personalization trend expressed in the next insight.

They customize everything

Food prep services and delivery apps have made meal customization available to everyone. Like other aspects of their lives, Gen-Z chooses to customize their experiences and expect brands to make doing so part of the basic functionality of their product.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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