Feb 27 2024

Understanding Gen Z Attitudes to Food and Beverages 

Written by Orderly Marketing

If you work in the food and beverage space, you might have noticed the rising influence of Generation Z (Gen Z) is a subject of keen interest. As this generation steps into the workforce and begins to wield disposable income, their attitudes towards food and beverages will be those that shape the industry’s future. 

A remarkable 36% of Gen Z already actively engage with food-related videos, while 22% delve into nutritional information, and 19% follow food-related news. As a reminder, Gen Z is the newest generation, born between 1997 and 2012. They are currently between 9 and 24 years old. Millions are 21 and entering employment after university or college. The oldest of the Gen Z, are already working, and have established routines when it comes to food, with some describing regular weekly food shops and meal planning. 

Using the FSA’s comprehensive study and analysis of Gen Z’s behaviours and interest in food and drink, we’ve pulled together some key takeaways. 

Gen Z are pro meat free (in line with Millennials)

Gen Z are often perceived to have embraced meat free diets more than older generations, however, there have been three UK-based surveys on rates of vegetarianism and veganism by generation, which show that the number of vegetarians and vegans is growing rapidly, and all surveys show the number of Gen Z vegetarians and vegans being in line with those of Millennials.

Gen Z feel apathy, not anarchy.

Contrary to the perception of rebellious activism, Gen Z’s reaction to the challenges of the future tends to lean towards hopelessness rather than fervent activism. Their concerns range from geopolitical shifts to environmental issues, reflecting a generation characterized by a sense of powerlessness from topics as vast as Brexit, austerity, climate change and knife crime. 

Welfare low on list for buying decisions.

While Gen Z demonstrates high levels of awareness regarding animal welfare issues, and while they perceive themselves as more compassionate towards animal welfare, their purchasing behaviour doesn’t consistently reflect this. Quantitative data suggests they align with the broader population’s levels of concern. This could be down to cost considerations. The welfare issues around importing also produced little concern, and participants showed a high level of spontaneous trust in the regulation of the food system and hygiene. 

Although Gen Z acknowledges the ecological consequences of meat production, deeper comprehension of these implications remains limited. 

36% of the study participants struggled to name any other food related environmental issues apart from plastic packaging. Gen Z are mostly unconcerned about the global nature of supply chains – complexity is not a high priority issue. Gen Z are distrustful of the profit-led motivations of large corporations and their lack of transparency. They express concerns about small number of big businesses having control over the entire industry, and this leading to monopolies and an increase in prices.

Gen Z feel tech is the answer…

Notably, Gen Z views technology as a pivotal tool for addressing future food system challenges. ‘Technological solutions feel plausible and sensible to Gen Z, matching their assumption that technology will play a significant role in the future’. 

…And we agree!

Gen Z’s relationship with food and beverages is a complex interplay of values, preferences, and evolving perspectives. As the food and beverage industry navigates this terrain, it’s paramount to recognize that this generation’s influence extends beyond their immediate consumption patterns. In short – while they are restricted at present by lack of funds or even knowledge, they will soon become richer in knowledge and expendable income. It seems wise for any brand to thing long term about how to engage the consumer of tomorrow. 

Orderly can help. 

Orderly’s fully integrated supply chain solution makes forecasting, order and inventory management easy – integrating seamlessly with your existing IT infrastructure, eliminating any need for manual processes and spreadsheets whilst providing your customers with a seamless experience.

Orderly cuts back on administrative burdens you may have had, saving you time, manual errors and making tasks like inventory management automated and straightforward. That gives you more time to define and shout about your purpose and goals, and attract the next generation of consumers. Show your commitment to food waste reduction, and your credentials.

Take a look at some of our case studies here.

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