We first introduced you to the Gen Z generation last year where we discussed what the food landscape is predicted to look like to appeal to this uprising age group (8 Things You Need to Know About Generation Z). Time has passed and the industry is even more focussed on this group who are fast becoming key customers, particularly when it comes to food. As they continue to grow up and begin making independent purchasing decisions; media attention, market research and advertising campaigns are analysing a generation to understand exactly what it is they want and need.
Foodies by default
Gen Z have grown up surrounded by the world of food on their doorstep. Unlike their predecessors, they have always had access to a variety of cuisines and an array of different flavours. Their palates are more experienced and their norm for a meal is something that the baby boomers would deem as adventurous. They were also born at a time when food and food culture were taking centre stage, so food is an important part of who they are. Armed with this information, restaurants have a lot more room to move when it comes to creating exciting new menu options and flavour profiles. This group of people doesn't shy away from spice and they want to have their taste buds excited, even when it comes to their comfort food choices.
Along with an inherent interest in food culture comes a preference for good, honest food. Gen Z know about ingredients and nutrition meaning the heavily processed foods that have gained so much traction in the past will likely fall flat when Gen Z are in full control. We`ve already seen major brands like Coca-Cola reformulate to try and keep up with this discerning group. The message to take home from this is that operators need to be aware that by creating their meals with the highest quality and most nutritious ingredients possible, they are winning the heart and spend of the Gen Z generation.
Don`t be fooled by their pretty pictures
Social media is central to the Gen Z’ers life. They validate through sharing and seek new experiences via pictures being shared across social channels. This has caused a new wave of dining to be developed where the menu is “ìnstagrammable” and the interiors are so eye-catching that a single photo can generate business. However, whilst the appearance of the food and space are integral to the way this generation perceive and experience their meal, it's not all they need.
They are quick to know and judge whether a place is worth visiting more than once because they know good food and they won`t stand for something that is not up to their standard. They`re not gullible and although a well-plated meal might get them through the door once, if it tastes bad or they see bad practices in the space, they will not return and they will not recommend to others.
So do not underestimate them or deem them superficial because they have a desire to snap and share. They are informed, connected and socially conscious people, particularly when it comes to food.
Inclusive and socially conscious
This generation are expanding the trends that Millennials forged. Gen Z look for social inclusiveness and equality which comes from being part of the most culturally diverse generation we have seen. They are closing the gap between minorities and majorities and rubbing out lines dividing race, culture, ethnicity, age and gender.
With this in mind, they will consider brands and their ability to support the values such as inclusiveness and equality. An operator of group who is promotes fair wages, provides social support, promotes fair-trade and fair treatment. In recent times, many food businesses have been reported for underpaying staff and exploiting people based on their race or gender. When this information lands in the lap of Gen Z, they will consciously decide not to invest in the brand or business if it does not align with their values.
Gen Z are demanding that food is good, wholesome and honest. This group of discerning youths value authenticity and experience over everything else and if you can appeal to them, then you're likely to succeed across the other, older generations too. Because who wouldn't want to eat a delicious, photo-worthy meal in a beautiful space and know that their purchase is going towards something bigger than themselves? The answer is a no-brainer.