by Claire Lentsch/guest columnist
Snacks have a strong presence in many different areas in life, whether that be a boost during a long day at the office, a college student’s meal, a surprise in a lunch box or simply munchies for a road trip. Snacks are an essential element in today’s fast-paced culture.
College students invest in snacks and beverages out of necessity. Student life is filled with deadlines, overlapping classes and the constant struggle of finding the time to sit down and eat a full meal. This results in many skipped meals and the lack of obtaining proper nutrients. Snacks have become the lifeline for countless students across the nation. Generation Z explores the product, price, packaging, accessibility and innovation behind each option.
Appearance is important. If an item does not look appetizing, it will stay on the shelf.
When it comes to ingredients, less is more. Companies that actively strive for simple transparency with their products help the consumer to better understand the product while creating a deeper sense of confidence with the purchasing decision. Generation Z is drawn to natural, energetic, efficient and ethical products. Snacks that are healthy, filling and can replace a meal are highly sought after.
The cost of products is undoubtedly a large determinant of selecting snacking options. Often buying in bulk is cheaper and allows for the product to last longer while putting the consumer in control of their portion sizes. Although affordability is important, Generation Z is extremely health oriented and is willing to spend more for a healthier product.
Packaging is the key to the success of a product. There are several different trends hitting the industry today and packaging is the leading feature. Vintage and old-fashioned styled packaging create a sense of mystery and adventure. Modern packaging creates a sense of class and high efficiency. Regardless of the theme of the packaging, ensuring that it is environmentally friendly is important.
One way to reduce waste is by creating a refill system. Sell reusable containers the consumer can use to collect the exact amount of the product they need or buy in bulk and portion themselves. This will attract consumers to embrace a new system of consumption.
There are new products and systems hitting the shelves and while these are proactive movements, often accessibility is a struggle. Students have limited options when it comes to grocery shopping and that can prevent them from engaging with new products. Introduce them to students. They could give feedback on product development while providing a solution to their crunched timeline.
When it comes to innovation and product development, get back to the basics. Simpler is better. Natural products are extremely attractive to this new generation because they care about their health and well-being. Part of that is understanding exactly what they are putting in their bodies. High-efficiency foods and beverages with a positive message are always top of the shopping list. Regardless of the product, authenticity is important. It is important to ensure that products are innovative, affordable and attractive.
Claire Lentsch was invited by The Shelby Report to share her perspective as a consumer and a member of Generation Z (born since the mid-1990s).