Millennials have changed the way we think about food. From making more conscious eating choices to forcing casual eateries to up their game, it's fair to say that Millennials have helped improve the way we eat. Food brands have responded, tailoring their marketing campaigns to capture the attention of this important demographic. Generation Z is hot on their heels though. The oldest of Gen Z are dealing with the increased responsibility and spending power that comes with entering adulthood. This is a digitally native generation that does not know life before smartphones, yet still values in-store experiences and with Gen Z surpassing Millennials as the largest generation, understanding what makes them tick is vital.
It's particularly interesting to delve into their attitudes about food. A recent report from Field Agent on Gen Z's approach to grocery shopping and cooking revealed some surprising statistics.
78% of Gen Z cook
The popularity of home cooking is on the increase, but even so, we were surprised to learn that a staggering 78% of Gen Z cook. (This figure rises to 95% amongst 40-60-year-olds.) There are a number of potential reasons for this interest in cooking. Changing dietary requirements mean that more and more people are taking control of what they choose to eat. Not just that, but the boom in short, shareable recipe videos that stop social media users in their tracks has transformed cooking from a necessary chore to an enjoyable part of day-to-day life. Instagram too plays a part. It's the first port of call for foodies who want to share what they've cooked with the world, and Gen Z is only too happy to get in on the action.
This recent quote from McCormick CEO Lawrence Kurzius sums up Gen Z perfectly:
"We like to say their phones eat first, so helping them create a fabulous dish that looks shareable in addition to tasting great is a growing focus for us."
67% of Gen Z prefer eating a meal prepared by themselves or someone else at home
It has never been cheaper or more convenient to feed ourselves without setting foot in the kitchen. From casual pop-ups and fast food restaurants to food trucks and groceraunts, cheap, tasty and (at times) nutritious food is easily accessible to many. Even so, the majority of Gen Z is happy to eat in, ditching takeout in favour of a home-cooked meal. Given that a sizeable number of this young generation still lives at home with mom or dad responsible for much of the cooking, it's perhaps not too surprising. It also feeds back into the previous statistic though, with the growing interest in cooking contributing heavily to their interest in eating in.
75% of Gen Z prefer cooking a meal from scratch rather than using a meal kit
Meal kits offer all of the benefits of home cooking without much of the hassle associated with cooking from scratch. The shift towards in-store meal kits makes the process even more convenient, providing many of the benefits of a meal kit without a subscription. It's surprising then that 75% of Gen Z prefer to cook a meal from scratch rather than using a meal kit. (This figure jumps just 1% to 76% amongst 40-60-year-olds.) Cost is, of course, an issue. We suspect though that the lack of variety might also play a part in this, with meal kit customer restricted to that week's selection. With millions of free recipes available at their fingertips, it's much more likely that Gen Z is turning to digital channels for recipe inspiration to satisfy their increasingly adventurous and global tastes.
Digital channels influence every aspect of the retail journey for Gen Z, with 67% using their smartphones in-store to research potential purchases and 80% influenced by social media when shopping. For grocery retailers and food brands, now is the time to leverage Gen Z's increasing interest in home cooking by doubling down on marketing campaigns that make the entire cooking process tastier and more convenient, from the inspiration and purchasing stages right through to getting the meal on the table. As Gen Z's spending power increases, grabbing their attention now will make all the difference when it comes to fostering loyalty for years to come.