New research examining the IGeneration, or Gen Z, finds this group of consumers, born between 1995 and 2007, is coming into its own as a purchasing force, especially for foods and beverages.
Mintel Group, Chicago, made a presentation on the subject at July's IFT Food Expo. Gen Z kids comprise 17 percent of the population, or about 55 million people who are making their own buying decisions, including food purchases. They look for clean-label information on foods, as they're significantly more likely to own cell phones, use social media and spend a lot of time online than the groups that preceded them.
Growing up during the Recession, they are more pragmatic and value-conscious than other generations – yet they also look for organic and non-GMO foods.
This group is self-aware, open-minded and very diverse, says Mintel's food and beverage analyst Sarah Theodore. "They also want things now, and expect information to be immediately accessible at their fingertips. With the Food Network, Gen Z likes to cook, but also finds food can be scary, because the ingredients are so heavily scrutinized. Healthy eating has been a strong message they've heard since they were very young," she says. "Detailed nutrition labels could address many of their concerns."
Product developers should know they're a generation of snackers, Theodore adds, and 24 percent are super snackers, which should provide formulators with plenty of new product opportunities.