Millennials’ eating habits continue to steal the spotlight, but with generation Z coming of age, many companies are trying to predict how they will impact the future of the food industry.

According to recent market research by Mintel, “Generation Z has the potential to reset expectations for health and wellness, increase the reach of international cuisine and heighten creativity in the kitchen.”

Saying no to sugar

One quarter of teens ages 15-17 say the worry about staying healthy. Another 49% agree that drinking soda is an unhealthy habit.

Sugar continues to be at the top of the watchlist for parents of Gen Z kids. But while 60% of parents with kids ages 12-17 report saying “no” their their kid’s dietary choices because of sugar content, just 11% of food and drink launches in the U.S. last year had low, no, or reduced sugar.

There is major room for improvement in this product area that successful brands are likely to fill in the coming decade. Kombucha has already benefited from a shift in consumer conscious. Consumers of all ages are likely to benefit from Gen Z’s push for less sugar.

Gen Z international 

Meanwhile, 36% of parents with kids under 18 agree that their kids enjoy international cuisines. Gen Z consumers like eating at Indian (36%), Middle Eastern (38%) or African (27%) restaurants. And they are more likely than any other generation to find food inspiration from something they saw on social media. Many already report cooking international cuisines at home.

“Generation Z is America’s most diverse generation yet. With exposure to international foods starting at an early age, whether in restaurants or at home,
said Jenny Zegler, Associate Director, Mintel Food and Drink.

For adventurous eaters of all ages who enjoy international cuisines, this is great news. This openness within the next generation of influencers means that there will be more opportunities across all categories for products like tikka masala kits or Chinese Pekin duck-flavored potato chips. As the new generation gains purchasing power, we could potentially get exposure to cuisines we don’t even have a taste for yet — Keep it up Gen Z!

Also see, Guilt-free foods you can eat without gaining weight.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.