by Claire Lentsch/ a contributor to The Shelby Report
Editor’s note: Shelby Midwest Editor Terrie Ellerbee met Claire Lentsch at the Supervalu National Expo in 2017. Here, Lentsch shares her perspective as a member of Generation Z (born since the mid-1990s) and a consumer.
Technology creates convenience. By introducing technology into the food industry, food becomes convenient. Vending machines are a prime example of a convenient food source. Leaving the house in the morning, as most know, can be a hustle of grabbing and going. However, many forget to grab food to fuel the day. Students are not an exception to this. For the majority of the day, the cafeterias in schools are closed. Therefore, students resort to the trusty vending machines for a quick snack.
Nearly every student carries their phone on them, with constant messaging and intake of information. Text messages are the most efficient route to spread information. Countless colleges recognize this and reach aspiring students through text messages. However, many companies still use email to inform customers of deals and events. This is highly ineffective as the majority of these emails get sent to a “spam” account, an account the consumer creates to avoid clutter. This results in a pile of unreceived messages and failed communication. Email is becoming a thing of the past.
With technology and services on the rise, it is possible to use shopping services from the comfort of your own home. My brother is in college. He tells me how handy it is to go online and have your groceries arrive on your doorstep. It saves time, money and the hassle of transportation.
Some companies track what their consumers purchase. I appreciate companies that put effort toward understanding what consumers personally tend to purchase and that send customized coupons. I enjoy saving money on products I already invest in rather than a clutter of random items I would never use.
Self-checkout is comforting
Self-service is a tool I find myself using frequently. Why have someone else do something you can do yourself? My generation is incredibly independent and enjoys the freedom to be self-reliant. I like using the self-checkout because I tend to feel more efficient doing something myself instead of waiting in a line only to have someone else do it for me.
Self-service technology creates a sense of comfort for many. For one, people don’t need to worry about their appearance. They can show up in the most unique or grungy of outfits with a sense of comfort knowing they won’t be forced to talk to anyone.
Everyone naturally gravitates towards comfort and convenience. This is why “ordering in” is so popular. Today’s society is very busy, so many prefer to take a break from running around and have a nice evening at home. Cooking can take a lot of time and preparation, and nobody has time for that anymore. Ordering online is the way to go.
Call-in orders are becoming outdated. Communication over the phone for many can be difficult to understand and may be awkward. My generation is developing a slight anxiety over phone calls or face-to-face contact with a stranger. Unsure of how to handle the encounter, it appears many strive to avoid it all together.
Although online orders remove the human aspect of the dining experience, it excels in accuracy. Most websites have pictures of the food items one can order, thus, enforcing a sense of confidence in the consumer. Because they are able to see the product, they develop a clear idea of what to expect.
Some surprises are pleasant, however, when it involves food it is imperative to know exactly what the end result will be. It also prevents the hassle of confusion when it comes to questions such as: “What does this sandwich have on it?” “How many calories does this have?” or “What sides can I get with this?” Everything online provides information, pictures, descriptions and health facts. Technology creates a launching pad for people to conveniently get what they want when they want it.
Comfort and convenience are evolving. Snacking is becoming more accessible within schools. Text messages are replacing emails. Online orders are replacing call-in orders. People are choosing fast, more efficient methods of obtaining their wants and needs as technology evolves.
Claire Lentsch, a member of Gen Z, is a semi-regular columnist for The Shelby Report of the Midwest.