Formulating For Generation Z

For the past decade, there has been considerable discussion amongst CPG marketers on how to interact with Millennials. Understandable, given their purchasing power (combined, $600B in the US each year)[i], their influence on the food sector and how they have re-shaped today’s food trends. But now there is a new generation. As noted by Mr. Larry Levin, Executive VP, Consumer and Shopper Marketing, Information Resources Inc. at the IFT19, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo in New Orleans,


“Nobody cares about millennials anymore.” “Everybody cares about Gen Z now.”


At this conference panelists predicted” Generation Z, the most diverse and digitally driven demographics of 6 to 25 year olds, will soon surpass millennials as the world’s most populous generation and already wields significant buying power in the marketplace.[ii]


Welcome to “Formulating for Generation Z”!


Formulating for Generation Z

Generation Z was born between 1995 and 2010 and it is estimated they will make up 40% of all shoppers by 2020.[iii] They are considered the most diverse consumer segment of our generation. As one member of Gen Z told Global News, “We are more diverse in our value systems, our beliefs and our ethnic backgrounds from any generation that preceded ours”. [iv] According to the Awesomeness study, nearly one-third of Gen Z says their age group is more likely to believe that everyone is equal.[v]

Marketers would be naive to underestimate this groups purchasing power. It is already estimated at $143B in the United States[vi], However, their impact on the market does not stop there. Ninety-three percent (93%) of parents (Gen X) today say their children (Gen Z) influence family and household purchases.[vii] When it comes to food, health and convenience are the key influencers. Estimated they spend close to 20% of their income on food,[viii] the top 6 food trends in 2019 Gen Z are interested in include:[ix]

  1. Keto / Low carb
  2. Vegan / Vegetarian
  3. Avocado / Avocado toast
  4. Healthy Fresh foods
  5. Low / Free diets
  6. Organic / Natural foods

As noted by David Portalatin, NDP Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America,

“Food marketers should understand that this generation grew up knowing that food is much more than sustenance; food represents culture and therefore is an expression of who they are.” “This generation was raised to be real and true to themselves and they expect the same from their foods and beverages.”[x]

This group grew up with social media. Not surprising, 80% of Gen Z purchases are influenced by social media. In particular, they are influenced by Instagram (44%), Snapchat (21%) and YouTube (32%).[xi] They are accustomed to expressing themselves through several platforms each day. So, it makes sense then that they expect to be able to engage with their favourite brands in-store, on their phones, and of course, across social media. Open dialogues are essential to this consumer segment, and brands that create two-way conversations will engage more Gen Z’s, win their allegiance, and create brand advocates.




[i] 45 Statistics on Millennial Spending Power,, January 2019

[ii] Formulating for Gen Z? Make it Familiar with a Twist,, June 2019

[iii] Brands Now Targeting Gen Z Consumer,, August 2018

[iv] Make Room for Canada’s Connected, Open and Optimistic Generation,, 2018

[v] Millennials vs. Gen Z: 4 Differences in What They Care About, June 2018

[vi] Move Over Millennials, Gen Z Have Arrived, www.Toronto, June 2019

[vii] How Much Financial Influence Does Gen Z Have?, January 2018

[viii] Formulating for Gen Z? Make it Familiar with a Twist,, June 2019

[ix] The 14 Biggest Food Trends Gen Z and Millennials are Interested In,, May 2019

[x] Gen Z are Discerning Grocery Shoppers with an Eye for Organic and Real Foods,, March 2018

[xi] Study: 80% of Gen Z Purchases Influenced by Social Media,, July 2017