Gen Z’s eating habits: Driven by activism or TikTok’s FYP algorithm?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published May 5, 2023 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

It’s a well-known fact that gen Z is all about TikTok, Diet Coke breaks, and social justice. Whether we mean to or not, we’re changing the world, one trend at a time. But the real question is, are we gen Zers led by our inner activists, or our relentless TikTok FYPs? Are we embracing veganism because we want to save the world, or are we making fun of Pepsi drinkers because of the algorithm’s influence?

First things first, let’s start with the trendy stuff. Not unlike lower millennials, gen Zers love nothing more than trying out the latest food craze. One day it’s acai bowls, the next it’s charcoal lattes. It’s almost second nature for us to constantly be on the lookout for the next big thing to become obsessed with for a couple of weeks. But is it all just for show?

Well, let’s be real here—some of these trendy foods out there are actually pretty delicious. Who can resist a perfectly crafted avocado toast or a mouth-watering sushi burrito? But do they actually provide us with any nutritional value? That’s up for debate.

Sure, avocado is high in healthy fats and sushi can be a good source of protein. But when you’re dousing your acai bowl with sugary toppings or drowning your charcoal latte in whipped cream, it kind of defeats the purpose. So, while these trendy foods may look good on camera, they may not necessarily be the healthiest option.

But don’t worry, gen Z isn’t all about the latest food craze. We’re also becoming more aware of the importance of eating well. With the rise of veganism, vegetarianism and flexitarianism (which allows for a small amount of meat), it’s clear that our generation is very concerned about the impact our food choices have on the environment and animal welfare.

The popularity charts for it over the previous few years have gradually climbed from left to right, year after year. The Guardian estimates that there are 79 million vegans in the world.

Another significant factor that shapes gen Z’s food choices is convenience. Due to the rising cost of living, inflation, and everyday recessions, learning to be thrifty with your meals has become a critical consideration for gen Zers when deciding what to eat.

Let’s not forget about the importance of mental health. With social media playing such a big role in our lives, it’s also pushed us to realise that what we put into our bodies has a big impact on our mood and overall well-being.

As much as we can recognise this hard truth, we also know that eating ‘well’  well can be pretty expensive. And when you’re a broke gen Zer, sometimes you just need to settle for a Tesco Meal Deal—and I’m not talking about a Tesco Finest* one.

So, to answer the question: Are gen Zers more focused on food trends or healthy eating? The answer is both. We’re definitely fans of trying out the latest food crazes and adopting them as our own, but our inner activists have also led us to take up plant-based diets en masse.

Let’s also not forget the most important thing—food is supposed to be enjoyed and savoured. It’s the thing we devour after a night out with friends, and it’s the comfort that nurses us out of our hangover the next morning.

It’s safe to say that gen Z is having a major impact on the food industry. While some may scoff at our past obsession with pesto eggs and cloud bread, the fact is that we are the most powerful force when it comes to shaping the future food industry.

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