Gen Zer’s tastes and preferences have become a focal point in the distribution industry, significantly shaping consumer expectations and preferences as a whole. Accounting for about 22.66% of the U.S. population, the evolving inclinations of this generation have become a key aspect for grocery players to monitor to remain competitive and relevant.

For suppliers and retailers to accurately target their products toward Gen Zers, they first need to understand what makes this generation different and what drives them to purchase products.

A Generation Influenced by Media
Social media is an essential tool to reach digitally driven shoppers today, and that is especially the case with Gen Z. This generation of consumers is largely influenced by what they see online and in the world around them, which translates to the products they are more likely to purchase on the shelves. The impact of social media cannot be understated, as it has had a huge impact on how consumers explore and discover products, viral food trends, and global flavors. In fact, 57% of Gen Zers indicate that TikTok is their primary source to learn about new cuisines. To effectively market and reach Gen Zers, suppliers and retailers must show up on the platforms this generation favors.

Gen Z’s Lasting Impact on the Industry

Gen Z is raising the bar for what they expect from the brands they support. These consumers want an authentic customer experience delivered through storytelling, connection, and purpose. Specifically, Gen Zers are more inclined to buy products from value-driven brands with 42% claiming that sustainability is more important than price. Research also shows that this generation is even willing to spend an average of 10% more on products that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Going forward, emerging suppliers will largely depend on appealing to Gen Zer’s tastes and shopping behaviors as these consumers are looking for brands that create an engaging and buzz-worthy experience. 

Must-Know Consumer Trends Going into 2024

As people gradually resume their pre-pandemic lifestyles, they are increasingly prioritizing enhanced shopping experiences that offer added convenience and practicality. With a shift towards more home-cooked meals, there is a rising need for simple and versatile products that can be easily prepared without compromising on quality and taste. Additionally, the influence of social media has spurred the curiosity of Gen Zers, encouraging them to add an array of global flavors. This shift in flavor preference has made it crucial for far-reaching flavors to be easily adaptable to home kitchens.

With the grocery environment constantly changing, retailers and suppliers need to stay on top of consumer macro trends to remain competitive. Whether it’s a new format or a viral food trend, consumers—and Gen Zers specifically—are highly influenced and quick to jump on what’s popular. This is one of the primary reasons why partnering with an experienced distributor provides suppliers and retailers with a competitive edge. KeHE recognizes the significant role that trends play in the grocery industry and has the know-how to lead both groups in a successful direction. Through KeHE’s Category Managers and high-touch resources, those who partner with an experienced distributor have access to leading industry insights including upcoming trends, consumer preferences, and marketing guidance. 

To learn more about KeHE’s predicted food and consumer trends for 2024 along with other resources to support both retailers and suppliers, visit