This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the Gen Z food consumer market including Gen Z food consumer market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the Gen Z food consumer market in the US.

Gen Z Food Consumer – Current Market Landscape

Evolving Gen Zs will require brand fluidity. Gen Zs’ priorities in packaged food shopping is driven by quality and price: teens seek product quality first, followed by low price The opposite is true for Gen Z adults, demonstrating a call to reality as Gen Zs emerge as independent consumers with financial responsibilities. These drivers demonstrate natural shifts that can help shape marketers’ approaches to reaching Gen Zs throughout their transitory stages.

As people age, dining out often becomes a means to navigate the day, in addition to a way to connect and indulge. Operations, communications and loyalty programs should focus on both social and solo engagement to cast the widest net and drive traffic for both types of occasions. Operators will need to engage varied messages to reach Gen Zs of different ages, focusing on easy, flavorful experiences for teens and convenience and value for adults.

Gen Z Food Consumer – Market Share and Key Industry statistics

Gen Z teens and adults are in different phases of their lives and therefore have differing perspectives, opinions and interests in the types of restaurants they dine at.

  • 47% of Gen Z adults feel low prices are one of the most important factors when choosing a restaurant.
  • 65% of Gen Z teens usually go to restaurants to spend time with family.
  • 51% of Gen Z adults go to restaurants to satisfy their hunger.
  • Gen Z consumers are digital natives and lean on technology to make informed decisions about what they eat, where they eat and how it all relates back to their diverse palates and interest in ingredients that support their lifestyles.
  • Compared to older consumers, more than a third of Gen Z teens are more interested in traditional food/drinks from cultures different from their own.

Future Gen Z food trends

Although sustainability initiatives may have been deprioritized as brands navigated the pandemic and its fallout, Gen Z has not lost sight of the importance of sustainable and ethical environmental corporate responsibilities. More than a quarter of Gen Z adults and one in five teens expect food and drink brands to invest in sustainability initiatives. More than half want brands to be transparent about both their environmental efforts as well as how they are supporting local communities.

At any lifestage, Gen Zs are similarly influenced by brand discovery on social media and this looks to rise with age (29% of teens, 32% of adults), suggesting that digital and social strategies are not only essential but will be increasingly important for retailers, packaged food brands and operators.

Read on to discover more about the Gen Z food consumer market, read our US Better for You Eating Trends Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Food and Foodservice Market research reports.

Quickly understand Gen Z food consumer market trends

  • Gen Zs’ dining habits.
  • Gen Zs’ purchase habits with packaged food and drink.
  • Influential factors in restaurant and packaged product choice.
  • Gen Zs’ self-perceptions.

Covered in this Gen Z food consumer market report

Brands include: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Gen Z Water, McDonald’s, Domino’s, Dunkin’, Panera Bread, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, IHOP, Denny’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Capital Grille.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Pooja Lal, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to Gen Z food consumer market research, to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Gen Zs were forced to come of age in uncertain times, facing pandemic-related disruptions during the final stages of childhood and the first of adulthood, followed by record inflation. Already vulnerable to new financial pressures, Gen Z will remain focused on value. Brands can ease the transition, providing guidance, rewards and experiences that validate indulgence.

Pooja Lal, Foodservice Analyst, Mintel Menu Insights
Pooja Lal
US Foodservice and Mintel Menu Insights

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Challenges and opportunities
                  • Gen Zs are ripe targets for connections right now
                    • Figure 1: Gen Z self-perceptions, 2022
                  • Inspire product discovery both online and in-store
                    • Figure 2: Retail attitudes toward food/drink, 2022
                  • Go small to meet Gen Z snackers’ budgets
                    • Figure 3: Attitudes towards restaurant ordering
                • Market Factors

                  • Inflation to hit economically vulnerable Gen Zs
                    • Figure 4: Financial situation, by generation, 2022
                  • Prioritize sustainability to connect on Gen Z values
                    • Authenticity is non-negotiable in Gen Z social engagement
                      • Figure 5: Social media usage, at least daily usage, 2020-22
                  • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                    • Brands tap TikTok to shape direct connections with Gen Z
                      • Figure 6: TikTok marketing examples
                    • Make room for representation to reach Gen Z
                      • Figure 7: Inclusive marketing examples
                    • Make the world a better, healthier place with Gen Z
                      • Figure 8: Gen Z Water
                  • The Gen Z Consumer – Fast Facts

                    • Restaurant Ordering

                      • Quality, experience and rewards will drive future Gen Z visitation
                        • Figure 9: Gen Z restaurant ordering, 2022
                      • Gen Z girls and women seek versatile spaces, menus to meet both social and solo needs
                        • Figure 10: Restaurant ordering – Gen Z teens, by gender, 2022
                        • Figure 11: Restaurant ordering– Gen Z adults, by gender, 2022
                      • Gen Z targeted digital strategies still have room to grow
                        • Figure 12: Restaurant ordering, by social media usage, 2022
                    • Restaurant Decision Making

                      • Ease Gen Zs into dining out decision making with tech
                        • Figure 13: Restaurant ordering, 2022
                    • Packaged Food/Drink Purchase Locations

                      • Gen Z teens seek variety, adults looking for value
                        • Figure 14: Restaurant ordering, by gender, 2022
                    • Purchase and Daypart Associations

                      • Make snackability easy, accessible for Gen Z teens
                        • Figure 15: Purchase and daypart associations – Gen Z teens, 2022
                      • Build loyalty through value with emerging Gen Z adults
                        • Figure 16: Purchase and daypart associations – Gen Z adults, 2022
                    • Factors for Choosing a Restaurant

                      • Lean into both value and experience to drive Gen Z diners
                        • Figure 17: Factors for choosing a restaurant, 2022
                    • Factors for Choosing Food/Drink Retailers

                      • Convenience takes on new meaning, value as Gen Zs transition into adulthood
                        • Figure 18: Factors for choosing retailers, 2022
                    • Dining Out Motivators

                      • Versatility for Gen Zs means social and solo dining
                        • Figure 19: Dining out motivators, 2022
                    • Gen Z Self-perceptions

                      • Turn online engagement into both a listening and communications tool
                        • Figure 20: Gen Z self-perceptions, 2022
                    • Attitudes toward Retail Food/Drink

                      • Encourage ongoing product discovery online and in-store
                        • Figure 21: Retail attitudes toward food/drink, 2022
                    • Attitudes toward Restaurant Ordering

                      • Variety + versatility will withstand evolving Gen Z diner needs
                        • Figure 22: Attitudes toward restaurant ordering – Gen Z teens, 2022
                        • Figure 23: Attitudes toward restaurant ordering – Gen Z adults, 2022
                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                      • Consumer survey data
                        • Marketing creative
                          • Abbreviations and terms
                            • Abbreviations
                              • Terms

                              About the report

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