How Gen Z Is Beginning to Make Their Mark on Eating Trends

Generation Z

CHICAGO — With the oldest members of Generation Z turning 22 years old in 2019, they are just starting to affect dining out and eating trends, reported The NPD Group.

The market research firm found that a large percentage of Gen Zers were raised to put a greater emphasis on the quality of food; whether or not it is clean, fresh or nutritionally beneficial; and its flavor and function.

This lifetime focus on food's flavor and function, rather than brand, will make Gen Zers more challenging for food marketers to each, according to NPD's The Future of Snacking report. To members of Gen Z, if they can't take a snack with them on the go, it is not really a snack, as portability is the feature they value most when choosing a snack.

These consumers also expect functionality, with added nutrients and health benefits that will replenish their bodies throughout the day.

Like millennials, Gen Zers frequently visit fast casual and traditional quick service restaurants. As the first generation that never knew a world without the internet or related technology, they are regular users of restaurant apps and deliver, NPD's Delivering Digital Convenience report added.

For the year ending December 2018, the number of foodservice delivery orders by Gen Zers reached 552 million, just 1 million less than millennials' delivery orders despite a small portion of Gen Zers being old enough to order their own delivery. They are also heavy users of restaurant tablets and order kiosks.

"Gen Zs can FaceTime their friends, text their moms, and order a pizza all at the same time," said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor. "Although we're just getting a peek at what Gen Zs will bring to our culture, economy, and society, this generation will be a seismic force as they emerge into adulthood under more prosperous economic circumstances, yet with their own differentiating set of values."

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