When it comes to food and nutrition, there’s an emergence of shared beliefs and behaviors among Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers, according to a new report released by FleishmanHillard, St. Louis, Mo.

"We call these cross-generational influencers 'Gen Food' because food defines them and is an important part of their values and belief system," says Jamie Greenheck, global managing director of FleishmanHillard's food, agriculture and beverage practice. "They're taking personal responsibility for improving the way we eat and drink, which provides a tremendous opportunity for brands looking to connect and drive action through food."

The study shows food unites more than it divides Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers. Some highlights entail:

  • 91% say food is an important part of their values and belief system.
  • 35% say that food defines them.
  • 79% feel it's their role and responsibility to share food information with others.
  • 81% believe they can make a difference in the kinds of foods they eat and how they are grown.
  • 78% have taken action to address food issues important to them – with reducing food waste emerging as a top priority.
  • 60% say they bear the responsibility for improving what and how they eat – more than food companies, government entities or health professionals.

"The implications for food, agriculture and beverage companies are profound," says Greenheck. "Speaking Gen Food's language and understanding their values is important to having relevant conversations about everything from sustainable nutrition to agricultural practices and food waste. It's also vital to focus on the benefits of innovation as they become the primary drivers of food choice. Additionally, companies should make it easy for consumers to participate and contribute to a better, more responsible food system."

FleishmanHillard's study was conducted by its TRUE Global Intelligence practice, which conducted an online survey with 2,001 nutrition-forward consumers Sept. 14-20, and evaluated drivers related to food, influences and behaviors. Respondents were screened for engagement on such factors as seeking information about food, sharing content about food and paying attention to ingredient lists.