by Claire Lentsch/a contributor to The Shelby Report
Editor’s note: Shelby Midwest Editor Terrie Ellerbee met Claire Lentsch at the 2017 Supervalu National Expo in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lentsch was invited to share her perspective as a member of Generation Z (born since the mid-1990s) and a consumer.
Snacking is replacing family meals. A lack of time has revolutionized people’s diets. Large, time-consuming meals are a thing of the past. In this day and age, people have no time to sit around a table for hours on end. Meals absorb time and money.
Consumers always are looking for the easiest and cheapest way satiate their hunger. Snacks are cheaper, faster and more laid-back. Convenience, price and health benefits are all things to consider when choosing the right snack to fulfill our needs.
Breakfast is evolving. The clock appears to move more quickly these days. Late nights and over-sleeping have become part of the daily routine. Instead of sitting down to a homemade meal every morning, many resort to grabbing something quickly and eating it in the car.
When selecting a morning meal, there are some things to remember. The snack should be small, easy to eat and satisfying. It needs to be fast and easy because time is scarce. Convenience is everything. No one has time to spare, especially in the mornings.
It is important to start the day off right with healthy choices. Many, therefore, gravitate toward the healthier selections that guarantee the nutrients they need to fuel their day.
Breakfast might be “the most important meal of the day” but it certainly isn’t the only meal. Heavy sit-down lunches have been exchanged for three to five smaller, more separated snacks. This prevents distracting waves of hunger and permits higher productivity levels. By spreading out the consumption of food, our bodies are able to digest more smoothly.
Generation Z is constantly obsessing over new health trends. Protein powder, protein bars, protein bites and meal replacement items are popular for those living an active lifestyle. Numerous students, particularly those in athletics, carry protein powder with them in their backpack and then mix it with milk at lunch. For many, this is a meal replacement.
Snacks that provide a diverse spread of dairy, meat, grains and fruit are highly sought after as well. The more colorful the item, the more attractive it is.
Generation Z loves variety and becomes bored easily. By introducing exotic flavors and selections, the young consumers will gravitate toward the product. Fruits are a delightful snack option. The air exposure, however, can make certain fruits unappealing and tinted brown, which people refuse to eat, resulting in waste. It can be difficult to have access to refrigeration.
Nonperishable items are convenient. Granola bars are wonderful examples of a fast and easy snack. People love shoving granola bars in their bags and purses for a quick, replenishing snack for later in their day. Granola bars and protein bars can last for months if unopened, therefore, they make a brilliant option to keep in the back of a car “in case of emergencies.” Often people forget that they packed snacks, and it is always a pleasant surprise to find a quick snack waiting at the bottom of a bag during a long day.
Smaller portions might be better during the work day, however, when it comes to eating at home, “the bigger the better.” When individuals snack at home they are looking for comfort: bigger portions, warmer food, more time.
Fresh or frozen? Fresh fruit or veggies are always a good decision. People searching for a filling meal, however, may resort to the freezer to find something to cook in the oven. This provides them with time to relax after their day and have a hot meal.
Luxury food at home tend to have higher calories but after a long day, many likely will allow themselves a sweet treat.
Snacking is replacing sit-down meals. People are finding easier, cheaper and more affordable ways to stay fueled throughout the day. Snacking is convenient. Young consumers are moving away from bigger meals, discovering meal replacement and spreading out their consumption of food.
This is the generation of efficiency.