The food and beverage industry is constantly evolving, and one of the major factors that influence this evolution is the changing tastes and preferences of consumers. The latest generation to come of age, Generation Z, is having a major impact within this category with their unique flavour profile. Gen Z, which comprises of people born between 1997 and 2012, has a distinctive palate that is shaped by their upbringing, lifestyle, and values.

Understanding Gen Z Food and Drink Preferences

Gen Z is a generation that values health and wellness, sustainability, and ethical sourcing. They are more health-conscious than previous generations and are more likely to choose foods and beverages that are organic, natural, and plant-based. This generation is also more adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, and they are open to global flavours and fusion cuisine.

When it comes to drinks, Gen Z is known for their love of tea, coffee, and energy drinks. They are also opting for non-alcoholic beverages, mocktails and functional drinks that offer health benefits.

The flavour profile of this generation is influenced by their diverse cultural backgrounds, their exposure to global cuisines, and their desire for healthy and sustainable foods. Gen Z prefers bold, complex, and layered flavours that are not too sweet. They are more likely to choose savoury and umami flavours, such as soy sauce, miso, and mushrooms, over sweet and sugary taste. They are also more interested in spicy and tangy flavours, such as sriracha and kimchi.

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Top Gen Z Food Trends

One of the top food trends among Gen Z is plant-based eating. This generation is more likely to choose vegetarian and vegan options, as well as preferring to explore alternative sources of protein. Another major trend among Gen Z is bowl food, which involves mixing various ingredients in a single bowl to create a nutritious and flavourful meal. This trend is driven by their love of global flavours and fusion cuisine.

Given that this generation of consumers are health conscious it is no surprise that whilst they are keen on snacking they are more likely to choose healthy and portable snacks, such as nuts, seeds, and protein bars.

Top Gen Z Drink Trends

Generation Z’s flavour preferences in drinks have shifted towards non-alcoholic beverages and functional drinks that offer unique flavours and health benefits. The rise of mocktails, specialty sodas, kombucha, probiotic drinks, and cold-pressed juices is a reflection of this trend. As this demographic continues to prioritize health and wellness, we can expect to see more innovative beverage options that cater to their preferences.

Gen Z is also driving the trend towards sustainability in the beverage industry. They are more likely to choose beverages that are packaged in eco-friendly and biodegradable materials, and they are more interested in companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint.

Gen Z Flavour Pairings

One of the key characteristics of Gen Z’s flavour profile is their love of bold and complex flavours. To create innovative and flavourful dishes, chefs and food manufacturers are experimenting with new flavour pairings that cater to Gen Z’s unique tastes. Some of the popular flavour pairings among Gen Z include:

  • Soy sauce and honey
  • Miso and ginger
  • Sriracha and lime
  • Kimchi and avocado
  • Turmeric and coconut

These flavour pairings offer a balance of savoury, sweet, and tangy flavours that appeal to Gen Z’s palate.

Innovative Food and Drink Ideas for Gen Z

To appeal to Gen Z’s unique flavour profile, the food and beverage industry is constantly coming up with innovative ideas and products. Some of the new and exciting food and drink ideas for Gen Z include:

  • Plant-based burgers and hot dogs
  • Fusion cuisine, such as sushi burritos and Korean tacos
  • Specialty sodas, such as lavender lemonade and cucumber mint
  • Probiotic snacks, such as yogurt-covered nuts and probiotic popcorn
  • Cold-pressed juice shots, such as ginger turmeric and beet apple

These innovative ideas offer a combination of bold flavours, healthy ingredients, and sustainability, which are all important to Gen Z.

Stay ahead of the curve with Lionel Hitchen

In conclusion, the flavour preferences of Generation Z are changing the food and beverage industry in significant ways. This group tends to favour bold and intense flavours, as well as natural and organic ingredients. They are also interested in functional food and beverages that provide specific health benefits. As this demographic continues to grow in size and influence, it will be important for companies to stay attuned to their evolving tastes and preferences.

We understand that Generation Z’s unique taste profile is shaping the food and beverage industry in new and exciting ways. This generation values health, sustainability and bold flavours, and companies that cater to these preferences are more likely to succeed.

By understanding their taste profile and preferences, we can help your business to create innovative flavour pairings for your products that appeal to their unique tastes and values.

Get in touch! And let’s make your product stay on top of the trends for this generation.


Mintel – 2023 Global Food & Drink Trends

Mintel – Gen Z: How brands can support their unique needs

Innova Market Insights – Gen Z target flavour experiences

The Food People – Love Your Lifestyle – Trend Predictions 2023/24

Published On: May 18th, 2023Categories: Food Trends

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