Gen Z’ers Want to Eat More Vegan or Plant-Based Foods, New Survey Finds

|Updated Dec 2, 2021
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Gen Z is setting food trends in the post-pandemic world, The Food Institute reports, and their food choices include: Ordering in more, choosing frozen foods, and eating more plant-based meals. They believe you don't have to be vegan to want to eat more vegan foods, the Institute report noted, in a review of how these young consumers are influencing food trends.

Gen Z'ers are typically known to prefer fresh and wholesome foods, according to a report from  Produce Blue BookSixty-five percent of Gen Z say they want a more "plant-forward" diet, while 79% choose to go meatless once or twice a week, the study found.

Above all, Gen Z'ers, who are born between 1995 and 2010, expect their food to have "fresh components," according to a survey from the American Egg Board. They are more likely to embrace "flexitarian dining," with vegetables at the forefront coupled with a complementary protein, such as an egg, The Food Institute reports. Gen Z consumers are more likely to integrate vegetarian options into their diets without making a decision to go fully vegan or even vegetarian. They see vegan options as just another choice on the menu.

Cost is also less of an issue when it comes to choosing healthy food. Almost half of Gen Z'ers indicate they would be willing to pay more for foods they perceive as healthier, compared to 32% of Millennials, according to a Tufts Nutrition Report. The Food Institute also reports that convenience is king. This generation, the first to grow up with a smartphone in their school backpack, will dial up their next meal more readily than any generation before them.  Convenience is a factor to 40 percent of the surveyed young consumers, whether they are preparing it or ordering in. In the question of which is easiest when heating up a meal or snack, Microwave or Stovetop, it was a virtual tie.

Snacks are serious business, to this group of consumers, the Food Institute reports. When school is in session the average length of a lunch break is 25 minutes, which often meals they need to rely on snacks to get them through the day or to eat after class to hold them until dinner, another study from the National Restaurant Association was quoted as saying.

Gen Z is also more likely to try out international or ethnic flavors. parents report the younger Gen Z (children under 18) enjoy Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cuisines.

Gen Z'ers also favor food that is photogenic, no surprise considering 75% of all Instagram users are from Gen Z. Besides food sharing, Gen Z and Millennials both rely on Instagram to help them decide where or what to eat next.

During the pandemic, Gen Z turned to TikTok, both for entertainment, and food inspiration, the article noted. One example was the popularity of the pancake cereal trend. The influence of Gen Z as consumers is likely to continue and strengthen, as the generation grows older and starts paying more often with their own credit cards.