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The Keys to Marketing to Gen Z Consumers

person holding black smartphone taking photo of pizza

Which brands are most popular among Gen Z? That question was examined in depth in a recent Morning Consult report.

And, included among social media brands like TikTok and gaming entities like Twitch, plenty of food and beverage brands are gaining favor among 18-to-25-year-olds these days.

In fact, more than half of the cohorts’s 40 favorite brands fall under the food and beverage category, according to the Morning Consult report. M&M’s ranked highest, coming in at No. 5 with an 80% favorability among Gen Z.

“The three main factors that make food and bev CPG brands popular with this generation are flavor innovation, product versatility, and comfort; The top brands strike a combination of all three,” said Andrew Roth, founder of Gen Z research and strategy firm dcdx, in a conversation with The Food Institute.

Data from the Morning Consult report was gathered May 1 through August 21, 2022. The overall rankings were determined by measuring the share of the cohort’s adults who rated their opinion of a brand as either “very” or “somewhat” favorable.


  • YouTube
  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Amazon
  • M&M’s
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Doritos
  • KitKat
  • Oreo

*According to Morning Consult


Major retailers earned high ratings with Gen Z in the Morning Consult report, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target. The three retail giants each earned around 80% favorability.

In general, Gen Z is harder to please. Across all brands tracked in the U.S., Gen Z’s average favorability rating is just 27%, compared with 33% for all adults and 36% for Millennials.

“About five years ago, Gen Z was all about speed and easiness,” said Adylia-Rhenee Gutierrez, a certified nutritionist. “Now, with the social conscious and sourcing, etcetera, Gen Z is about the quality of food, ingredients, and pricing. Right now, if brands have an eco-conscious [philosophy] or social responsibility ethos, Gen Z will be attracted.”

It’s important to remember that Gen Z has grown up in an age of “information overload,” Roth said, meaning these young adults are faced with more information, and more choices, than any generation that preceded them. That has led Gen Z to develop a few noteworthy behaviors that separate them from other generations.


Roth – whose company just released its own report, analyzing who has the most “brand magnetism” (an ability to generate organic conversation) among these young consumers – said today’s young adults have developed three key behaviors that make them significantly different from other cohorts. Gen Z’s key behaviorial tendencies include the following:

Identity-driven choices: Gen Z is making more choices that align with their values than any other generation, Roth said.
A need for convenience: Remember: digitally native Gen Zers have grown up with access to any information necessary at their fingertips.
A need for authenticity: Today’s young adults demand transparency from brands, and “can see through BS better than any other generation,” Roth said.


  • Coca Cola
  • Gatorade
  • Oreo
  • Cheetos
  • Pepsi
  • Sprite
  • Jello
  • Pringles
  • Skittles
  • Fanta

* According to research and strategy firm dcdx


Ultimately, Roth said, brands that understand how to talk, build, and engage with this group of consumers will be set up to thrive for years to come.

After all, he said, “Gen Z is in the driver’s seat of culture.”