• Home
  • >
  • Focus
  • Gen Z to Impact Food And Drink Innovation

Gen Z to Impact Food And Drink Innovation

Mintel research shows Generation Z has the potential to reset expectations for health and wellness, increase the reach of international cuisine and heighten creativity in the kitchen. 

The U.S.’s youngest consumers are a health-conscious cohort, as 25% of teens ages 15 to 17 worry about staying healthy and another 49% say drinking soda is unhealthy.

This might be a reflection of parents’ concerns for what their kids, regardless of age, eat and drink, as 60% of parents with kids ages 12 to 17 and 55% of parents with kids ages 18 and older report saying no to food and drinks with too much sugar. Despite this, just 11% of U.S. food and drink launches aimed at children ages 5 to 12 since spring 2017 had low, no or reduced sugar claims, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database.

However, health is multi-faceted for Gen Z, so better-for-you formulations, such as craveable fruits and vegetables, can be expanded to give them options that fit with their ever-changing diet priorities, says Dana Macke, Mintel’s associate director of Lifestyles and Leisure Reports.

As today’s parents are raising their children to have broader palates in line with increased racial and ethnic diversity, 36% of U.S. parents of children younger than age 18 say their kids enjoy eating international foods, driving consumption of more emerging international foods and drinks.

In addition to interest in eating at international restaurants such as Indian (36%), Middle Eastern (38%) or African (27%), 62% of young adults ages 18 to 22 cook international cuisines at home from social media, compared to 46% of Millennials, ages 23 to 40, and 23% of Generation X consumers, ages 41 to 52, who cook at home.

While most Gen Z consumers discover international cuisine in the foodservice space, brands can offer more authentic and hybrid flavors, such as tikka masala meal kits or Chinese Peking duck-flavored potato chips, as well, says Jenny Zegler, associate director for Mintel Food & Drink.

CPG companies can appeal to the Gen Z market by creating do-it-yourself experiences that allow those consumers to be creative and build their confidence in the kitchen. This can be done through interactive products such as chips where they can make their own flavor or kits to help make more complex recipes or international meals at home, Zegler says.

For the full story, go to this week’s Food Institute Report.