Move over millennials. Marketers are now trying to solve the puzzle of what even younger consumers want to eat. The cohort stretching from newborns to those age 23, dubbed Gen Z, makes up about 32 percent of the U.S. population, and marketers believe these little foodies want things fresh.
A report by market researcher NPD suggests the rising generation is eager to make meals using fresh ingredients without too much trouble—fancy sandwiches, for example—and isn’t averse to using the stove. This is similar to trends among the millennial generation, only to a greater degree. What Gen Z consumers don’t want are ready-to-eat foods and microwavable meals, products that remain broadly popular only with convenience-centric Gen Xers.
NPD predicts salad consumption in particular will increase with Gen Z, followed by quick-assembly meals (meal kits and sandwiches), and more involved breakfast foods such as eggs, homemade pancakes, and French toast. Savory snack foods, everything from crackers to salsa, are also expected to become more popular.
Here’s a breakdown of how many more or less servings—measured in millions—of certain types of foods NPD expects Gen Z members will eat in 2018 compared with last year. The forecasts are based on NPD’s analysis of how behavior changes with aging, population distribution, and trend momentum.