Trend Perspectives by Cynthia Maxwell

Although generations are typically categorized by events rather than arbitrary dates; Gen Z birth years are generally considered to fall between 1996 and 2009. Because of the age range at this time, it seemed right to focus on the teenage group and the older Gen Zers graduating from college and starting new careers. On top of reading a ton of research, I also conducted my research with some Gen Zers I know personally and their friends to discover their interests in both food and products.

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Before we get into trends, here are a few Gen Z facts.

1. Gen Zers are more technologically advanced than prior generations
2. They have compassion for the environment
3. They are the largest racially and ethnically diverse generation of all generations
4. LinkedIn reports Gen Z has an estimated 44 billion in purchasing power
5. Bloomberg reported in 2019 Gen Z outnumbered Millennials. Of the 7.7 billion humans on earth, Gen Z makes up 32%.
6. More than 40% of the U.S. consumers are Gen Z, according to Fast Company
7. Gen Z has been referred to as -Digital Pioneers or Digital Natives as they have “little or no memory of the world without smartphones”-Pew Research Center

Food and Gen Z

Being raised on Instagram, Pinterest, and the now Tik Tok, Gen Zers scroll through a ton of food trends every day. Research says they will be some of the healthiest food seekers of all generations! However, teenagers are teenagers, and per my research, the teen groups love Whataburger, Chick-fil-A, and French fries! Food was one of the top purchasing priorities for male and female teens last year and Chick-fil-A ranks as their fave!

Gen Z teens are interested in healthy foods, but it’s ultimately not the main thing on their agenda. Some healthy food callouts amongst the teenagers were item-specific; avocados, bananas and fruit. I spoke to a few that love veggie bowls and the healthy food focused restaurant, True Foods Kitchen.

Once I got to speaking to the 20 to 23-year-old Gen Zers I learned that their healthy food choices were much more important and they turn to social media and Google for recipe ideas. Fast food was more in the area of Chipotle, Mod Pizza, and Cava, because of the access to fresh ingredients, and they appreciated the create-your-own meal concept.Flower Child and True Foods Kitchen were called out as healthy fare sit down restaurant options.

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Gen Z food trends so far this year include:
• Avocado Toast-from a trend standpoint, you might think this is dated trend, but it is still going strong!
• S’mores and the different ways to make them
• Smoothies
• Bowls: Veggie, Smoothie, Fruit and beyond
• Molten Lava Cake: yes, this old school dessert is returning and it is easy to make single servings at home.
• Coffee drinks (the sugary ones) as well as the big 2020 star the Dalgona

Gen Z Product Purchasing

Cars are high on the list of items Gen Z wants to purchase, and it makes complete sense because of the age range, Gen Z is just starting to drive or graduating from college.

Of course, laptops, smartphones, and gaming items rank high amongst this digitally connected generation. According to Kantar Group, almost 90% of Gen Zers are gamers!

Gen Zers love shoes, especially from brands Adidas and Nike.

Makeup and skincare were a big deal across Gen Z females. The younger Gen Zers love brands like Too Faced and the older Gen Zers were interested in natural lines like Bloome. Research shows that prestige beauty is big amongst Gen Zers primarily because of social media influence- brands like Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner, Tarte, and Morphe. Old school brand Clinique was one of Gen Z’s top ten makeup/skincare lines according to a 2019 Gen Z survey.

I briefly touched on the diversity of this generation seeing as Gen Z is young and still developing their interests and priorities. They are predicted to be the best-educated yet and are interested in politics, climate change, and are aware of polarizing media outlets. Interestingly they do not like to be compared to Millennials and have some strong views on the differences between the two generations!

I am excited to see the impact they will have in the coming years.

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Image courtesy of Instagram @thehealthyhaff.

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