Born roughly between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is a rising demographic with approximately 65 million people in the U.S. and a buying power of $44 billion. With this in mind, it’s crucial for companies to pay attention to Gen Z’s wants and needs if they want to thrive.
The Gen Z consumer tends to be idealistic and value-driven, favoring mission-based companies. “What’s great about [buying] local, though, especially for the Generation Z consumer, is they are really about value-based companies. When they’re able to buy from a local farm, they feel really good about that,” explained Rachel Shemirani, Senior Vice President at Barons Market, San Diego. Despite their love for local brands and produce, Gen Z will still be careful with their money as they saw their parents struggle during recessionary times.
In addition to being idealistic and value-driven, Gen Z is also racially diverse (52% identifying as non-Hispanic, white), educated (59% continuing their education in college), and tech-savvy. Also known as digital natives, Gen Z is the first generation to not know the world without the internet or smartphones. 98% of Gen Z consumers have smartphones and 55% of them use their phones over 5 hours a day.
With these characteristics in mind, it’s predicted that affordability, health, sustainability, and social impact will help shape Gen Z consumer behavior, according to the International Fresh Produce Association and the Ernst & Young Future Consumer Index. Mackenzie McLeod, Executive Director of Brand Management at Dallas-based marketing agency, DMA Solutions, listed four factors that fresh produce marketers need to know about Gen Z consumers. Her list reflects what other research has shown and includes these factors:
- Snacking: Students get about 25 minutes for lunch during the school day and rely on snacks to hold them over between meals. 54% of teens said they prefer healthy snacks, according to a semiannual report from Piper Sandler.
- Corporate Responsibility: It’s clear that Gen Z cares about supporting causes important to them and prefer brands that leave a positive social impact. It’s not just about products anymore, companies have a responsibility to use their influence and resources to positively impact the world.
- Price Sensitivity: Gen Z saw their parents go through the 2008 recession, causing them to be more mindful of their dollars. Be sure to communicate values such as sustainable packaging or a social responsibility story for premium items. Something else the Gen Z consumer loves is deals. Offer a discount for signing up for emails or send them a few coupons.
- Plant-focused and Authentic: Roughly 65% of Gen Z consumers are interested in a plant-forward diet, according to food service company, Aramark. Additionally, these consumers want to know more about the food they buy, including where it’s grown and how.
Our infused dried fruit ingredients tick all of Gen Z’s boxes. Firstly, our crave-worthy ingredients help elevate a number of snacks such as trail mixes and nutrition bars by adding distinct texture, vibrant color, and authentic taste. Secondly, Graceland Fruit is dedicated to sustainable practices that protect the environment in the communities we operate in. Specific areas of focus include water stewardship, waste reduction, and energy consumption. All of our growers follow good agricultural practice standards and are Michigan Agriculture Environment Assurance Program (MAEAP) verified. Lastly, our premium ingredients are plant-based and authentic in taste. Our exceptional dried fruit is made with fresh fruit from quality-obsessed growers who harvest it during peak season. It doesn’t get any more authentic than that!