I’m at an age where I can recognize the things that are for me (khakis), and the things that aren’t (Snapchat, staying out past 10 p.m.). So I always appreciate market research studies that give me insight into what the younger generations are up to. A pair of reports out recently from NPD Group (h/t to The Food Institute Blog) shed some light on how Genz Z (the eldest of which will be 22 this year) are approaching their food choices.
In its “The Future of Snacking” report, NPD found that what Gen Z cares about most is portability. From the NPD press release: “… regardless of the brand, for Generation Z, if they can’t take a snack with them, it’s not really a snack.” NPD also said, “A large percentage of this generational group have been raised to put a greater emphasis on the quality of food, whether it’s clean, fresh, or nutritionally beneficial, as well as its flavor and function.”
With these data points in mind, it’s not hard to envision a growing market opportunity for upstart, upcycled snack companies like ReGrained, Render and Pulp Pantry, as these socially conscious startups tick off a lot of the boxes Gen Z are looking for.
The convenience Gen Z craves extends to their restaurant habits as well. According to NPD, Gen Zs made 14.6 billion restaurant visits in 2018 and now make up 10 percent all foodservice traffic. But they are also a generation raised on the internet and apps, so they are quite keen on ordering delivery from restaurants. In its Delivering Digital Convenience report, NPD found: “In the year ending December 2018, foodservice delivery orders by Gen Zs amounted to 552 million, just a million shy of Millennials’ delivery orders and only a portion of Gen Zs are old enough to order their own delivery.”
That last bit about age is important. Delivery already makes up 30 percent of the restaurant business. As more Gen Zs become old enough to order their own meals (and booze!), the convenience of delivery is only going to grow. This market lying in wait helps explain DoorDash’s $7.1 billion valuation and why we’ll need more robots and drones to help keep up with delivery demand.
Which is fine by me, as long as they don’t make any noise past 10 p.m.