Consumer Insights: Gen Z’s Favorite Flavors

Globally-connected and socially-conscious, Generation Z are born between 1996 and 2018 and are the largest and most ethnically diverse generation. Nielsen reports that Gen Z now makes up 26% of the world’s population and accounts for $29B-$143B in direct spending, making this segment of the market particularly important to please. Predicted to disrupt major industries like dairy, meat, and alcohol, Gen Z looks gravitates towards flavors that are as exciting and authentic as their own personal branding. Advanced Biotech takes a look at trends that have been catching the attention of this up-and-coming group of consumers.


Purposeful Snacking


            Gen Z loves to snack, and with many young consumers leading the wellness and environmentally-conscious trend, clean label, plant-based snacked that are high in protein and other nutrients are sure to satisfy their needs. Snacks made from lentils, chickpeas, and dried fruits have proven to be a hit with Gen Z, and unique and international flavors like coconut, ghost pepper, and hemp are finding their ways into their lunchboxes and backpacks. High-achieving and always on the go, Gen Z also looks for convenience and portability when snacking, making plant-based bars and coffee-flavored snacks popular choices.


Street Food


            Globally-minded, adventurous, and prone to taking cues from media content, street food has become a big trend within Gen Z. Inspired by streaming specials and propelled by their desire for new experiences, the bold flavor profiles and overall accessibility has won the interest of this young generation. Mexican street corn, for instance, has seen a huge rise in popularity. Sweet corn is adorned with rich and tangy cheese, cut with spicy chili and vibrant lime, this highly accessible snacks hits all of the major flavor profiles and has been replicated in chips, popcorn, and even mixed nuts. Thai massaman curry, a rich coconut broth flavored with anise, cloves, and cinnamon among other spices, is another Gen Z favorite. Rounding out the category, Asian desserts like matcha green tea flavored waffles and mango sticky rice are popular handheld sweets loved by young consumers.


Visually Aesthetic


            Perhaps the most connected generation to date, Gen Z will sometimes decide whether or not to eat somewhere based on just on the restaurant’s social media account. Heavily invested in their own personal branding and deeply involved in community building platforms like TikTok and Twitter, Gen Z is always on the lookout for ways to improve their feed and boost their brand. Colorful ingredients like dragon fruit, hibiscus, and ube have been the focus of many Instagram posts, while spicy foods laced with cayenne, chili, and jalapenos are finding the way to the front of many customized TikTok “for you” pages. Eating with the eyes has never been more important to a generation where online presence is everything.