Young Gen Z adults (18-24 year olds) are more likely than their Millennial predecessors to say they often snack between meals (74% vs. 66%), and when they do slow down to prepare a meal, young Gen Z adults are more likely to prefer simple, easy-to-prepare meals (58% vs. 40%), according to “Looking Ahead to Gen Z: Demographic Patterns and Spending Trends,” a report from Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md.  

The report further reveals that households headed by adults under age 25 are 29% more likely to eat shelf-to-microwave dinners and 26% more likely to eat frozen breakfast entrées/sandwiches. They also have a 23% higher likelihood of eating frozen (complete) TV dinners, and are 10% more likely to eat dry packaged dinners, dinner mixes and dinner kits. 

"Seemingly perpetually in motion, ubiquitously surrounded by limitless smartphone entertainment options and frequently willing to work multiple jobs or side gigs, many Gen Z young adults are attracted to easy-to-prepare meals as well as snacking," says David Sprinkle, research director. "Therefore, there exists ample opportunity for food marketers of frozen prepared meals, canned soups, potato chips and other canned and packaged prepared food such as salads and desserts to convert adults under the age of 25 into loyal lifelong customers."

The major caveat for food industry players is that despite their heavy reliance on portable and convenient food options, Gen Z adults are health conscious. Compared to their Millennial counterparts a decade ago, Gen Z adults are more likely to look for organic or natural foods when food shopping and prefer foods without artificial additives.  They also are more likely to be vegetarians.

In addition, Gen Zers are more likely to expect food companies to deliver new, novel and authentic food experiences. When compared to Millennials a decade ago, young Gen Z adults are usually the first among their friends to try new food products or admit that they can often be swayed by coupons to try new food products. They also are more interested in trying out new recipes.

About the report

This report assesses Gen Z's impact on the American consumer economy, including their habits and spending, thoughtful comparisons between Gen Z trends and past generational trends and case study analyses regarding Gen Z targeted advertising campaigns.