September/October 2022 Edition


G en Z is anyone born in 1997 or later. Gen Z’s spending power is on the rise. A recent Bloomberg report says the young students and professionals now command $360 billion in disposable income. They are part of a fast- paced world with instant global access through their mobile devices. They are plugged in to exploring and talking about food in their online social circles. More than other generation, Gen Z are the most aware of current events, socially conscious, ethnically diverse, technologically connected, and politically engaged. As the most diverse generation, they are subsequently exposed to a host of cuisines and cultures thanks to family and friends. They are open to exploring different foods because of their extensive travel connections. Moreover, they have grown up with TV shows like Top Chef and MasterChef Junior, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Instagram short form cooking videos, and YouTube. Connectivity is important to Gen Z diners. They have tremendous access to and reliance on technology and information. They thrive on posting and sharing information on Meta (formally Facebook), Instagram,

and TikTok. Not surprisingly, their social media accounts are likely to drive their decisions about food. FOOD TRENDS THAT APPEAL TO GEN Z This generation wants more control over what they order. So, it’s no mystery that fast casual niches like Chipotle, Sweet Greens, and Poke Bowl are appealing, because they offer variety and the opportunity to build meals with made-to-order options. But make no mistake, Gen Z will go to high-end restaurants for the food experience and photo opportunities. According to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2022 Food and Health Survey, Gen Z feel that sustainability plays an important role in decisions around what they eat. Fifty percent said their food and beverage choices have a significant or moderate environmental impact. Gen Z are making a huge impact on the food industry. With the high visibility of food trucks, they subscribe heavily to street food. Technomic’s College and University Trend Report found that 42% of Gen Z are interested in street food on menus, while 46% say chicken is their protein of choice for dinner. Plant-based offerings, fermented


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