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The Healthy Eating Habits of Generation Z

Generation Z can be characterized as technology savvy, socially engaged youngsters with short attention spans.  However, an overlooked yet promising characteristic to add to the list is Gen Y’s healthy eating habits. Recent research confirms Generation Z (people aged new born to 23-years-old) may be the healthiest generation thus far! In fact, a recent NPD Group survey revealed that this young generation of fresh loving foodies might as well be dubbed “Generation Salad.” Gravitating towards natural ingredients, fruits and vegetables and home-prepped meals, Gen Z is not only adopting Millennials’ healthy lifestyles, but taking them to the next level. When making a meal decision, these are the three main elements that Generation Salad considers for their healthy palate.

1.  Market Fresh

Generation Z demands natural ingredients! Hence the nick names “Fresh Foodies” and “Generation Salad.” These young consumers crave natural foods like healthy greens and try to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into every meal. NPD suggests the rising generation prefers to cook meals using fresh ingredients, but without the hassle. The market researcher predicts, “Salad consumption in particular will increase with Gen Z, followed by quick-assembly meals and more involved breakfast foods.” Gluten-free foods are also popular among this age group.

2.  Farm to Table

Not only is Generation Salad highly interested in eating healthy foods, they are just as interested in growing healthy foods. The Animal Agriculture Alliance recently analyzed “kids these days” at its "Cracking the Millennial Code" 2014 conference and found, “We are three or four generations removed from the farm, [therefore] they want to know more about their food, now that the average person grows up with almost no understanding of how it's grown." This generation actively seeks food knowledge to determine exactly where their food comes from and what process it went through to get to their tables.

While currently nearly 80 percent of edible gardeners are Millennials, that number is only increasing with Generation Z. Dedicated to growing a healthier generation and the future of food, Tim Blank, CEO of Future Growing and Developer of Tower Garden by Juice Plus+, encourages urban gardening and farm-to-table lifestyles to youth. "With the Tower Garden, people produce healthy and nutritious food with a fraction of the effort and natural resources and in a fraction of the time required by conventional gardening," Tim says of his proprietary growing system. Gen Z is on-board!

3.  Home-Prepped

Finally, as a result of Generations Z’s healthy growing and eating habits, they are cooking their own food at home more often. This way, they have complete control over the nutrients and calories they consume for any given meal. Generally, cooking meals at home is less expensive as well! Goldman Sachs’ third Millennial Impact study details the health habits of today’s 14 to 34-year-old group. Because this generation tends to get married and have kids at later ages, “this generation has time and money to spend on lifestyle that prior generations would have needed to put toward child care or home repairs.” Also, this study demonstrates the youngest generation’s cost conscious tendencies. Having technology at their fingertips, it’s easy for Generation Z to find deals and use coupons on produce, fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.

As healthy eating habits continue to evolve for the better generation by generation, as does the overall health of our communities. Healthy eating seems to come naturally to our youngest generation! Want to cook a meal that’s a win for Generation Z? If you can whip up a home-cooked meal from a recipe full of fresh ingredients, including fresh produce, using food straight from farm to table – that’s a winner for Generation Salad. Bon appetite, Gen Z!

If you are under 23 or have Gen Z kids and understand these healthy cravings – How would you describe an ideal meal for Generation Salad?



Business Week


Washington Post


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