Generation Z has the potential to take demand for “real” unadulterated food to new heights, according to “Make it happen for Gen Z,” a 2018 report from the NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y. Typically raised by Gen X parents, Gen Z — defined by the NPD Group as those born between 1997 and the present — boasts higher consumption rates of organic foods and beverages than any other group. Members of this demographic were taught at a young age the value of food in terms of function and nutrition — not just in terms of taste.

Strength in numbers

Gen Z currently accounts for 27% of the U.S. population — making it larger than even the millennial population, the NPD Group noted. The oldest members of the generation are turning 21 this year.

Strength in numbers

They have a personal brand and story

In many ways, Gen Z consumers think of themselves as having a personal brand with a story and values by which to live. They seek brands that support their story, and they are willing to use them regardless of a brand’s size.

personal brand and story

They want it simple and believable

Gen Zs, like millennials, prefer food and beverages with transparent labeling and an absence of artificial ingredients. They are skeptical of big brands and too many label claims.

simple and believable

They have an expanded view of authenticity

For Gen Zs, the desire for authenticity goes beyond clean and fresh, broadening to include brands that honestly offer experiences, according to CultureWaves, a Springfield, Mo., firm that partnered with the NPD Group on the report. This tech-savvy group also seeks personalization, engagement and fluidity (such as portable foods), to meet the needs of their busy lives.