‘It has to feel organic, and it has to feel natural,’ says IRI

Often referred to as the generation of “digital natives”​ who have never known a world without the internet, social media, or Amazon, Gen Z (referring generally to those born between 1997 and 2015) are among the most committed to social and environmental causes than the previous generation of millennials, said IRI principal, Lynne Gillis.

“I think the biggest difference we see with Gen Z is that they’re more likely to vote with their dollars or likely to take action for or against things that support whatever it is they value,”​ Gillis told FoodNavigator-USA. 

“Underpinning all of it, is this focus on doing something about it.”

With millennials, by contrast, she said, “We saw more of a focus on value, and rightfully so with three big recessions in their lifetime.”

What also sets Gen Z apart from previous generations is its cultural diversity and commitment to individuality, noted Gillis.

According to 2020 Pew Research​, 52% of Gen Z is non-Hispanic white (compared to 61% of millennials and 82% of baby boomers), one in four are Hispanic, 14% are Black, 6% are Asian, and 5% are another race or combination of two or more races.

“The cultural intersectionality that defines this generation is hugely different in how it spurs them to action,”​ she said. 

As IRI describes in its report​: “This is a group of people whose focus is not binary; it is inclusive. It isn’t about choosing A or B, it is about having the option to choose A and B. Or, when it comes to identity, it is about having the option to move more fluidly through a vast network of possible options — or declare no option at all.”



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