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Gen Z's eating habits reflecting their global outlook and digital fluency

Hartman Group finds gen Z’s use technology to find food brands that support their values
Hartman Group Study Gen Z food habits

Gen z’s savviness with technology and focus on prioritizing their social values and well being will influence their food choices and brand loyalty in the coming years, according to The Hartman Group.

In its recent study, Taste of Tomorrow: Navigating Food Through the Eyes of Gen Z and Alpha, the international food and beverage research firm finds that gen z, now coming into their own as a major consumer demographic, are making food choices and buying decisions that reflect their diverse cultural backgrounds and values.

As compared to their parent’s generation, gen Z is looking for foods that are more flavourful and nutritious, says Melissa Abbott, vice-president, syndicated studies, with The Hartman Group. As well, this group is also looking for convenience, and are looking for brands that can provide them the more diverse flavour offerings using healthy and fresh ingredients that are easy to prepare, she adds.

According to the study, 52% of gen Z say they are deciding upon foods and meals that are convenient and easy to prepare, as opposed to gen X of which only 42% say they prioritize convenience and ease of preparation. Part of that shift may be that many gen Zs are leading busy lives—juggling jobs, family obligations and education—leaving few opportunities to cook; or are only now slowly starting to navigate their way to cooking meals, and having the option going out and purchasing a healthy, ready-made meal that can be easily prepared without too much fuss is highly attractive to them.

Another interesting finding is that technology is growing in importance, with 55% of gen Z consumers using social media to find new foods and recipes, and seeking product reviews for foods and products they are looking to purchase. According to the study, gen Zs will turn to online research to find product reviews and to find products that best align with their social values, such as fair labour practices and inclusivity, as two examples. 

“Gen Z very much resonates with brands that speak their language and reflect their values, and demonstrate a mission-driven purpose,” Abbott says. “That may be something like ‘Fair Trade’ or sustainability. Gen Z is focused now on such things as how are you treating your workers, how are you treating animals and how does that touch your products. It is about them connecting with brands that express social empathy.”

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