This is the continuation of the previous post; a point/counter-point between Jim Matorin and Lionel Binnie on our thoughts on Gen Z attitudes and behavior around food.
….Excellent observations Lionel. However, given we are contributing a point, counter point post about Gen Z with our readership, I am going to share some insight that rebuts some of the trends you document.
· Snacking yes. A majority of market research indicates 2-3 times a day. Healthy? I do not buy it. Back in September, I read an article about 100 of Gen Z’s favorite brands. Health wasn’t exactly on the radar screen for the CPG or QSR brands listed. In the Top 10: Doritos (2), Oreo’s (3), Hershey’s who is building a snack portfolio, some healthy (5), M&M’s (6), Cheetos (7), Sour Patch Kids (9) and McDonald’s (10).
Foodservice operators are leveraging the marketing power of LTOs and offering mashups, unique combinations of indulgent menu items targeting the younger generations. Two recent primary examples would be the Froot Loop Mini Donuts from Carl’s Junior and Burger King’s Whopperito. Not healthy!
· According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend report, fresh fruit is the snack of choice among college kids (44%), but closely followed by traditional snacks they still crave, potato chips/pretzels (37%), crackers/cookies (33%).
· Parents influencing their children’s’ eating behavior? To a small degree. Farm Rich commissioned a survey (OnePoll) and revealed that 7 in 10 teens indicated their parents are their primary source for food knowledge. However, more than half of the teens surveyed say meals provided by their parents don’t always suit their tastes or dietary preferences. Where do they get their food inspiration? According to the survey respondents, 46 percent watch cooking shows for ideas, followed by social media – Facebook is the number one culinary source (27%) followed by YouTube (21%). Candidly, I am surprised food trucks did not receive a mention. Personally, I think they have been extremely instrumental in building the awareness of global/ethnic street food and farm to table menu items.
In closing, I think we are in agreement that Gen Z is growing up to be a “foodie” conscious demographic group and will clearly influence the future of food consumerism.
Yes, yes and yes! Gen Z is and will continue to be the most “foodie” generation of them all, to date. They have more influences and consciousness of food, health, ethnicity, diversity… How they eat is a big part of how they express themselves and how they want to be identified…much like fashion, music, sports etc.
As Professor Marshall McLuhan, the late Canadian communication guru famously wrote: ‘The medium is the message’.
And food, now, among many other things, is another medium of expression.