How to Sell Your Food to Gen Z

Food, beverages and tobacco images are up 410% on social media.

May 09, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—In order to succeed in foodservice, retailers should cater to Gen Z, according to Phil Lempert, food and consumer-trend watcher for Forbes. Gen Zers are passionate about food, and because of social media, their taste buds change rapidly.

“It’s not about pretty pictures of food—that’s a part of it for sure—but these Gen Zers look for nutritional information, sustainability information, product information, recipes, trends, special and local curated products, taste information and customer reviews—all online—and the information must be 100% accurate,” he writes.

According to Bazaarvoice, there has been a 410% increase in food, beverages and tobacco images submitted by social media users, and user-generated content is becoming more important to Gen Z, especially on TikTok. There are 1 billion users on the social media outlet, and 60% of them are Gen Z.

Lempart uses the example of TikTok user Rebecca Chobat and her channel Dollar Tree Dinners, where she focuses on making meals from Dollar Tree food finds.

“She is Gen Z and a perfect example of how this generation does their part to help other Gen Zers’ predicaments—in this case fighting food inflation,” he writes. “We see Gen Z as the most important generation that will affect change in society and our culture; they are demanding purpose and accountability.”

Lempert uses Southern California grocery store Erewhon as an example of a retailer that gets Gen Z and has a young people following despite being one of the most expensive places to shop for groceries. “Erewhon’s secret formula is simple: Target who you want to sell, get to know them intimately and forge a relationship,” Lempert writes.

For more on Gen Z, here are their 40 most popular brands, their top five dining trends and tips on how to hire Gen Z.

Don’t forget about Generation Alpha—those born from the mid-2010s through the mid-2020s and the first generation to be born entirely in the 21st century. By 2025, there will be two billion members of Generation Alpha—the largest generation in history—that already commands economic power.