Gen Z (individuals 22-years-old and younger), the youngest age group polled by Innova Market Insights in its recent report, are most likely to use physical activity to improve their health. According to a recent consumer survey by Innova, 67% of US in this age group claimed to be increasing physical activity to improve health and wellbeing.
"As a result, they are seeking food and beverage products that support physically active lifestyles and protein-rich innovations are surging," said Innova, noting that Gen Z consumers are among the largest consumers of plant-based proteins. More than half of Gen Z consumers reported eating plant-based protein at least once per month, compared to 20% of baby boomers, according to Innova.
The food industry has also adapted to Gen Z tastes by developing products with globally-inspired flavors due to the young generation's strong interest in traveling the world. According to the Innova Consumer Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey (2018), travel is the top choice among Gen Z for experiences and events most enjoyed during leisure time.
"They are traveling the world and being exposed to new cultures and food experiences, such as adventurous dishes, along the way. The industry has widely responded by developing world flavors for young consumers to taste when not traveling," Innova noted.
Millennials' approach to holistic wellness
"Meanwhile, millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, tend to focus on balancing body and mind, with 53% reporting a focus on increasing their 'happiness'. They are interested in mental, as well as physical wellbeing, in ethical consumption and in healthy indulgence," said Innova.
Millennials are looking to increase their intake of specific nutrients including protein and fiber while still indulging from time to time, according to Innova.
"This is preferably combined with on-the-go solutions to fit with their busy lifestyles. They are also the most concerned age group when it comes to environmental and ethical issues and they are even willing to pay a little more for such products."
Gen X prioritized mental health
Gen X, now aged between 39 and 54 years old, has a strong focus on emotional wellbeing, with 55% of US consumers in this age group taking steps to improve their mental health, according to Innova. They are achieving improved mental health by prioritizing family time and socializing outside of the home with "above average levels of interest in natural and organic foods."
Gen X tends to be interested in reducing meat, alcohol, and caffeine consumption, while increasing intakes of fruit, vegetables, and fish.
"Natural, positively processed and guilt-free products are most likely to make connections with Generation X consumers," said Innova.
Baby Boomers are reducing sugar as part of healthy aging lifestyle
Baby Boomers, generally referring to those born between 1946 and 1964, make up roughly 23% of the US population and healthy aging has become a top priority for this age group. According to an Innova consumer survey, 54% of Baby Boomers said that they had reduced their sugar intake and have bought more reduced sugar products in an effort to be healthier.
"They are the most likely of the generations to change their diet to improve health, with a strong interest in functional foods, personalized nutrition solutions, plant-based options and in reducing intake of 'bad' ingredients, such as sugar, fat and salt," said Innova.