Gen Z is Hungry For More Sustainable
Food & Beverage Options
Plant-based & home grown sustainable food options
Globally, there’s been a massive shift towards plant-based diets and whole food diets including legumes, beans, fruits, grains, and vegetables. These diets are far more nutritious than processed foods and have less environmental impact as well. Processed foods require additional steps, such as chemical additives and preservatives, and take machinery and distribution chains. The meat and dairy industries require foods to be grown and transported for animal feed, then animals to be prepared for consumption including packaging and refrigeration. The environmental impact is high. With such a high focus on climate change, plant based alternatives will continue to gain popularity.
Another option besides trying out plant-based diets? Home-grown foods. Even people in busy apartments are realizing they can start herb gardens. More consumers are trying to grow some of their own foods to both lower costs, eat healthier, and reduce transportation cycles in the food chain. EIT Food found that 74% of Gen Z consumers believe fruit and vegetable farming and local farming to be the two most sustainable forms of agriculture, and according to Forbes, 67% of American adults either actively grow food or plan to in the near future.
Self-grown food is sustainable, healthy, and economical, saving many people money in the long run. It also involves no plastic or otherwise disposable packaging, a growing concern for Gen Z, as landfill waste continues to grow and impact climate change.
Video: how these options satisfy Gen Z’s appetite
Why take it from us when Knit specializes in providing our brand partners with Gen Z Voice of Consumer Video Insights? When we asked Gen Z whether the pandemic prompted them to buy or try more sustainable food options, they cited a switch to plant-based and home-grown foods to help feed their desire for healthier, more eco-friendly options.
Many of those burgeoning chefs turned to TikTok for inspiration, especially as the pandemic continued. Gen Z was already the fastest growing group of TikTok users and adoption only surged with Zoomers.
Chef Gordon Ramsay debuted a vegan bacon on TikTok, followed almost instantly by other companies including MyEats and Vegan Zeastar, which makes vegan seafood alternatives.. Meat alternatives like Impossible and Beyond popped up in TikToks, homes, and even fast food restaurants across the country. And as a move towards plant-based grew, pushes towards more sustainable packaging grew as well.
According to a survey of over 350 chefs in the National Restaurant Association, sustainability ranked as one of the chief trends of 2021 and 2022, including a move to more plant-based options and more sustainable packaging, including biodegradable or compostable food boxes and utensils.
As supply chain woes struck much of the world, particularly during the Omicron wave, the desire for sustainability grew. Stores ran out of meat, milk, and fresh produce. Pictures of empty store shelves bombarded social media. And the supply chain itself, something once practically invisible, was brought into sharp focus.
The rise of sustainable food brands
Beyond Foods is a massively popular company that offers plant-based meat alternatives. Gen Z is buying more of these alternatives, but they’re also looking for options that extend beyond just foods. Many Zoomers have started looking beyond individual product offerings and are now evaluating companies themselves.
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