Gen Zs are Foodies

Gen Zs Eat Crepes

Gen Zs are already Foodies. By age 10, they demand and enjoy high quality food – food that is fresh, tasty, authentic, ethnic, comes with choices and is hopefully nutritional. In 2012, Time magazine informed us about child foodies in “Are Foodie Kids the Sign of End Times”…well they’re growing up.  Gen Zs already have adult palettes, but they crave foods created specifically for them.  As Gen Zs grow up and become wealthier, healthier (so we hope) and more global, their taste palates will become more sophisticated.

Food companies need to step it up and start delivering foods that meet the gourmet tastes of Gen Zs. Because if they eat your brand now, they will be more loyal to your brand in the future. And brands should want the loyalty of Gen Zs. Gen Zs have money and influence and the forecast is that they’ll be successful in life. According to the recent Sparks and Honey report on Gen Z, “Gen Zs have a strong influence over this week’s dinner menu today…and are expected to be the biggest foodies, more so than Millennials.”

What makes Gen Z’s such Foodies? Recent trends in technology and the food movement have helped shape Gen Z’s food preferences. These trends include:

  • Shareable: Food is shareable thanks to social media. They share foods, restaurants and their favorite foods on Instagram, Pinterest etc…
  • Authentic: They crave items that are authentic and real, food is real, tangible and can be emotional
  • Mini Adults: They’re being raised as equal opportunity diners (EOD) and rarely order off the kids menu (unless they’re punished or actually want to)
  • Accessibility: Food is much more accessible due to technology, Gen Zs exposure through travel and Food Trucks. There are also so many choices
  • Multicultural: Gen Z is very culturally diverse, and Z’s want to know the foods

We need fast foodie food now, especially in the US. Gen Zs don’t see McDonald’s as a treat, not a surprise given McDonalds recent 30% drop in profit.  When Gen Zs get together, the host is expected to offer high quality “foodie” food, especially to kids over 8. Up until 2 years ago, I’d throw out a bowl of high-fat potato chips and hide from the kitchen (and the kids). But today it’s different. Gen Zs enter the kitchen and the Q&A begins. I hear comments like this – –

  • “My mom made fried calamari for us as Appetizers”
  • “Yippy cheese. Ick it’s yellow, do you have Triple Crème Brie?”
  • ”Is this homemade or store bought guacamole? I only eat homemade”
  • Do you have any Voss waters” …”Sushi is my favorite food”

– – – and I think, “what the &$%% have we created?”  Many Gen Z parents have created sophisticated, EO diners who are a product of Gen X over-parenting in a new state of accessibility. We know that not every Gen Z is fortunate enough, or even interested in being a Foodie because really, isn’t that a luxury?  Not every child has the parenting, exposure, financial ability or food accessibility to be a Foodie. (That’s why my Gen Z’s serve at soup kitchens.)

What do Gen Z Foodies want? Food companies, Gen Zs want food that meets their standards, food that’s enticing yet real, with a lot of choices, and not junky. Here are some examples:

  • Wheels of cheeses like Brie, priced reasonably and without the skin
  • Variety packs of seasoned crackers so there’s many to taste
  • Buffet style meals where Gen Zs can have custom cuisine (think Chipotle)
  • Hummus made with beans grown locally
  • Veggies and Guacamole (homemade of course)
  • Local Organic Apples with Almond Butter

There’s definitely room in the food aisle for youth food brands somewhere between adult and toddlers (I.e. Lunchables).  Food brands targeting Gen Z should position themselves like Pottery Barn Teen.

As a non-kid-centric Gen X parent who grew up on Libbyland, Gen Z’s gourmet tastes can be time consuming, overwhelming and expensive.  But for the sake of my kids’ health and development, I am relieved and proud that they are little Foodies:  they will try and eat almost anything that’s foodie food, and they won’t eat McDonalds or hot dogs etc…. But like everything else in life, there’s a limit to what they get as kids.  As I always say, ‘IF YOU HAVE IT ALL NOW, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO WHEN YOU’RE AN ADULT?”

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