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Retail Foodservice

Get to Know Generation Z

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Millennials, like baby boomers before them, get a lot of buzz and press for their shopping habits. Coming up behind the millennial generation is Generation Z, a demographic group born between the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, with its own unique identity and preferences, not to mention a growing disposable income and influence.

In its most recent report on this generation, called Gen Z: Decoding the Behaviors of the Next Generation, Techonomic found that this group is ethnically diverse and—no surprise here—tech-savvy and mobile. This is also a group driven by flavor, according to Technomic's findings, and one that is big on snacking.

However, their penchant for snacking doesn’t always line up with the available snack choices. As the Technomic study noted, “there is a lack of enthusiasm for current snack options, presenting an opportunity for foodservice.”

Gen Z isn’t afraid to depart from others when it comes to foods and beverages, either. According to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, while 67% of millennials and 58% of GenX’ers find coffee beverage snacks appealing, fewer than half of Gen Z’ers (49%) agree.

Because they are flavor seekers who are on the go, Gen Zers can be drawn to fast-casual restaurants in supermarkets. According to Josh Onishi, CEO and president of Peace Dining Corporation, a fresh sushi purveyor with products in several stores around the country, this generation likes the idea of quick service and high quality choices available at grocerants. “People crave even faster-paced casual dining experiences that match their frenetic lifestyles, but they also want food to be healthy and of superior quality,” Onishi says.

Among other tips for retailers, Onishi says that experience is important to Gen Z, as well as millennials, Gen X and other customers, and that’s why stores that offer amenities like free wifi, made-to-order customization on the spot and "fixings" options are enticing to today’s buyers.

Gen Z is also into sustainability, something that operators can tap into with their foodservice-at-retail programs. According to Onishi, people actively seek out companies that position themselves as eco-friendly, and sustainability-minded grocers can create a positive impression among shoppers, including and especially younger ones.

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