“The iGeneration is also known as Generation Z or post-millennials,” says Ava Duering, competitiveness analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
Comprised of tweens, teens and young adults aged 18 to 23 years old, they are the first generation born after the inception of the Internet. Because of this, they are named for their involvement with technology and access to information.
Duering says that they are an important group for marketers to understand for two reasons:
- They are entering their prime earning and spending years and will soon occupy the desirable 18-34 demographic.
- They are quickly replacing millennials as the young, influential trendsetters.
According to Statistics Canada, the iGeneration comprised about 15% of Alberta’s population in 2016. “Alberta is a younger demographic compared to the rest of Canada so the iGeneration has a greater impact on our economy,” says Duering.
Duering says that they have various food preferences:
- International foods - “This seems to have greater appeal among younger generations. According to International Food Trends 2018, 60% of adult iGens have had Japanese food in the past 3 months, versus 25% of baby boomers. This trend holds for nearly all international food types from Indian to Korean.”
- Plant based food - “The percentage of iGens enjoying plant-based meals nearly doubles from junior high students to high school grads, and almost half of the iGens say being vegan is ‘cooler than smoking.’”
- Organic food - “According to market research firm NPD, the iGeneration has higher consumption rates of organic food than any other group.”
- Health conscious - “They are focused on natural, organic, allergen-conscious foods. These attributes have a stronger appeal than low fat and low-calorie. According to a Tufts University report, about 41% of the iGeneration say they would pay more for food they perceive as healthier, compared to 32% of millennials and only 21% of baby boomers.”
- Transparency - “The Internet has a huge impact on how the iGeneration views the world. For them, no question is too complicated to answer. They want to know where their food comes from, how it was grown and harvested, and how it ended up on their plate.”
Duering says that since iGens represent about 15% of Alberta’s population, the province’s producers and processors should capitalize on this growing market.
“Organic and plant-based food provide continued growth opportunity. Technology is critical in attracting the iGen. A strong digital presence and providing the ability for online shopping is key to market products to this group. Food product labelling with detailed descriptions of ingredients and sources helps in the purchasing decision making process for iGens.”
Read Consumer Corner’s iGeneration/Generation Z (PDF, 748 KB).
Connect with Ava Duering