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I should go to more conferences.

I was just at a global foodservice conference in Dubai (with a distinctly American agenda) and came across the term "Generation Alpha," which covers anyone born after 2010. Sure this is likely a term bandied about in conference rooms all over North America…but it isn't in Asian or South American conference rooms.  Even less here in the neighborhood of the Global Foodservice Blog Mountain Redoubt in California.

Boy are these kids going to be different. Boy they are different. You need to completely change your game to satisfy these kids like nothing before.

At the moment the oldest of Generation Alpha is 6-years-old.

So I thought (and I'm quoting myself here),"what are they eating so much of that's so different?"

Just to get myself started, I went to the U.S. CREST® foodservice market research database to see what it had to tell me. I found that the five most popular items for Generation Alpha were:

  • French Fries
  • Pizza
  • Milk
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Regular Carbonated Soft Drinks

"No Way!" (I'm quoting you here). "They're eating fresh fruit and quinoa salads."

Nope.

But these guys are supposed to be different from any previous generation?  What if I went back to 2010, before any of them were born, to see what the favorite items of the youngest Generation Z kids were eating...

  • French Fries
  • Milk
  • Regular Carbonated Soft Drinks
  • Pizza
  • Chicken Nuggets

But we market researcher guys have a trick to tease differences out of the data to highlight things that might not be very important (quinoa) but are very different. We "index" the numbers for each generation relative to the average.  This tells us the "propensity" to do a certain thing compared to (in this case) older people.

And when we do that we find that quinoa is the most important.

Just kidding. We find:

  • Milk
  • Juice that's not orange juice
  • Corn Dogs (!!!!)
  • Yogurt-not frozen yogurt (that's better)
  • Chicken Nuggets

And, to complete the circle, if we go back to 2010, we find the Under 6 set indexing "high" on:

  • Milk
  • Juice that's not orange juice
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Nuggets
  • Corn Dogs

I love grilled cheese sandwiches so much I blogged about them last year.

So, I guess the thing about this generation isn't so much what they eat but how you're going to reach them.  These kids are going to be as much younger than Millennials as Millennials are to Boomers.  Sheesh! What are they going to be up to?  


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