What Appeals to Consumers? Survey Finds Generational Gap

A new survey has found a gap between Gen Z customers and Boomers, according to a press release from Ingredient Communications, suggesting that brands and retailers need to market products differently based on target consumer.

Through SurveyGoo, Ingredient Communications surveyed 1,000 adults in the US and UK in September 2020. Some of the differences:

  • Sustainability: 34% of those aged 18-25 said they consider it ‘very important’ that a product is made sustainably, compared with 18% of those aged 65 and over.
  • Vegetarianism: 38% of 18-24 year-olds said they find vegetarian claims on products to be ‘very appealing’ and 33% said they feel the same way about vegan claims. Only 6% of those aged 65 and over said they find vegetarian claims ‘very appealing’ and only 3% said the same about vegan claims.
  • Price sensitivity: Younger consumers are more price sensitive, with 29% of those aged 18-24 feeling that it is ‘very important’ that a product is the cheapest available, while only 3% of those aged 65+ agreed—however, 67% of those aged 18-24 are willing to pay extra for a product made entirely with ingredients they recognize, while only 27% of those aged 65+ would pay more.
  • GMOs: 39% of those aged 18-24 said that a GMO-free product is likely to be ‘very healthy,’ compared to 14% of those over 65.
  • Gluten-Free: 38% of those aged 18-24 feel that the claim ‘gluten-free’ is a sign that a product is ‘very healthy,’ and 31% of those in that age group find a gluten-free claim ‘very appealing.’ By contrast, only 6% of Boomers feel that ‘gluten-free’ products are ‘very healthy,’ and only 8% find that claim ‘very appealing.’

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Richard Clarke, Managing Director of Ingredient Communications, said: “It’s no surprise that younger and older consumers see the world differently. But this survey sheds light on how their views diverge in the food & beverage sector. These insights highlight the importance of aligning product development and marketing with the worldview of your target consumer demographic. While there will be common ground between generations, the areas of disagreement can be quite striking—and this means a one-size-fits-all approach is risky.”