Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.

Tech savvy Gen-Z has unprecedented power to influence not only its peers but prior generations. But it’s important not to label them, according to IRI’s white paper, “Understand Me, Don’t Define Me.”

Jennifer Pelino, a co-author and EVP of the IRI Media Center of Excellence, told FR Buyer the racial and ethnic diversity of this group of 11- to 25-year-olds gives them deep and genuine acceptance of what makes people unique. Rather than trying to conform to social, societal or political constructs, they embrace individualism.

“They are digital natives, and have different expectations in how they think about society and the political construct,” says Ms. Pelino. “They think about rights, equality and sustainability. They think in a way that is more gender-neutral. Anything perceived as opportunistic marketing is flatly rejected by Gen Z.”

After taste and price, the next most important factors in deciding which brand of food or non-alcoholic beverage to buy are: 

  • Cares about the environment/sustainability (38 percent). 
  • Understands what I want/need (34 percent). 
  • Feels authentic (24 percent). 

As one Gen Z focus group member put it, “It’s all about efficacy and authenticity with brands. Efficacy lends authenticity, rather than brands standing for certain ideals because they sound good.”

Three of IRI’s recommendations for connecting follow:

  1. Understand their needs and motivations, notably that they are consumers who are multidimensional and ever-changing. Create a feedback loop that allows you to consistently connect with them — and make sure you are able to integrate those learnings into their actual behaviors to fully understand how their needs and motivations translate to their omnichannel retailer and brand choices.
  2. Be transparent and authentic when messaging and connecting. Strive to stand for something good, whether it is a societal message or one of sustainability.
  3. Meet them where they are, focusing on video, Advanced Television and gaming. Prioritize the platforms that influence them, including TikTok, Snap, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Brands can use Deterministic Purchase-Based Audiences to help them find and create the right audiences that connect the right messaging in the platforms they view.


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