I recently presented a session on Gen Z at the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference. Following are some highlights from the session!

Who is Gen Z?

The next emerging generation is Gen Z, those under 18 years old in 2015. This generation is estimated to be at 68 million and forecasted in a Fast Company article to be 40% of consumers by 2020. Further, JWT Intelligence estimates $200 billion in spending power.So what defines this generation? Gen Z consists of true digital natives, with the vast majority present and active on mobile devices and social media, making more use of texting and less use of voice calls and email to communicate. Gen Z is concerned with privacy and identity theft, thus the popularity of apps like Snapchat. They are entrepreneurial, financially focused, and want to make a difference in society. Gen Z is also the most multicultural generation in history.

Influence on Food Purchases
According to research by The Intelligence Group, 88% of Gen Z claim to be extremely close to their parents. As a result, they hold a great deal of influence on purchases their parents make, as evidenced by a Mintel study (2013) finding that 73% of moms indicated that their Gen Z child influenced “this week’s dinner menu” which is, of course, important to food stores.

Important Food Attributes
Technomic Consumer Food Trends reported (2014) that when Gen Z were asked about their likelihood to purchase items based on a variety of different attributes, the top three were fresh, natural and local, certainly good news for the supermarket industry!

So How Can Supermarkets Reach Gen Z?

Be Digital:  Given the expectations of these digital natives, you must be mobile-friendly, fast loading and easy to digest, engaged on social media, and available across multiple screens.

Be Concise:  Gen Z thinks in short, eight-second bursts, and communicates with visuals, images and emoticons.

Be Unique:  Retailers should offer customized choices, cater to diverse tastes, and provide fresh and healthy options.

Be Transparent:  Talk about social responsibility, be transparent in labeling, participate in review sites and keep personal information secure.

Be Committed to a Cause: Find a cause that resonates with Gen Z, support it and communicate about it on social media, as well as engage their participation.

Be Authentic: Use two-way conversations with Gen Z rather than talk “at them.”

Be Collaborative:  Collaborate through contents, games and social media and encourage Gen Z to share the collaboration with others!

Be Mindful of Value: Incorporate offerings that provide value to show you understand the financial concerns of this generation.

Be Fast: Remember, speed of service both in-store and online is an expectation.

Written by Brian Numainville, Principal, The Feedback Group