Every generation faces challenges wrought by their predecessors. Millennials, for example, blame boomers for a shortage of affordable starter homes as retirees downsize, decreasing supply and driving up prices. 

The Great Recession also left them with loads of student debt and stagnant starting wages that could set them back on earnings for their entire careers.

Gen Z, on the other hand, faces a slew of challenges that encompass both personal and societal concerns. Among the major issues looming over the current generation are inflation, the mental, emotional, and social impact of social media, and, of course, climate change.

It should come as no surprise that Gen Zers are using every tool at their disposal to combat the issues confronting them, including speaking with their consumer dollars. They’re using their purchasing power to support businesses that live up to their ideals and demands for change.

When it comes to the food industry, this means offering healthy, sustainable products, addressing climate change, and generally working for the better of the planet and the people who call it home. What can restaurateurs and food manufacturers do to cater to Gen Z consumers?


 Demand for Organic and Sustainable Products

Health-conscious Gen Z is concerned with both personal health and the health of the planet. When making purchasing decisions, these consumers look for perceived value related to their personal ideals.

For example, they may be willing to pay more for products that are grown organically while utilizing sustainable practices like water conservation. They might lean toward locally sourced and seasonal ingredients that cut down on transportation and pollution, all while supporting local farmers. 

Or they may choose companies that commit to avoiding animal cruelty or supporting biodiversity.

These value propositions factor into their purchasing decisions because they care about their health, their communities, and creating a sustainable situation for life on Earth. They still want flavor, innovation, and accessibility, but it must be served with sustainability in mind.


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Focus on Climate Change

Climate change is a major crisis facing everyone, particularly Gen Z and future generations, and so far, humanity has been slow to address it. While activists like Greta Thunberg raise awareness through climate strikes and addressing the United Nations, others are left to vote with their consumer dollars.

Gen Z has proven more than willing to support businesses that focus on health and sustainability at every level. It’s not enough to offer delicious and healthy products. Companies should also focus on preserving resources, protecting habitats, and minimizing their environmental impact through pollution reduction.

More importantly, businesses in the food industry need to provide transparency. It’s not enough to detail your efforts; you need to partner with trusted organizations and obtain certifications that show your commitment to these causes. Greenwashing won’t work with the savvy Gen Z market.


Related: How Gen Z Is Taking Newstalgia to New Heights


Positive Outcomes for People and the Planet

As a business, there are several steps you can take to appeal to Gen Z. Finding ways to minimize your carbon footprint is a great start, as is choosing the organic and sustainable options this consumer group prefers.

Practices like recycling, conserving water, sourcing ingredients locally, and using sustainable packaging are another step in the right direction. You can also support groups and initiatives committed to land preservation, biodiversity, and addressing climate change.

When those in the food industry focus not only on providing outstanding products but delivering the overall value Gen Z consumers expect, they can do a lot to improve conditions for their customers and the planet. In the process, they stand to develop a devoted following and a strong and positive reputation.


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