Gen Z’s Impact on Beverage Trends

Generation Z (born 1997-2010) is impacting the beverage industry in a big way, bringing with them unique habits and preferences that are reshaping the innovations, product development and the overall landscape. In a recent article from Beverage Industry “Generation Z shakes things up in beverage,” author Chloe Alverson talks about everything from their reliance on digital and social experiences and their emphasis on sustainability when making beverage choices—and how this space will continue to transform under this generation’s influence.

Gen Z and Beverages


Social Media and Influencer Impact on Gen Z

Gen Z themselves tell us that social media and the influencers they follow have a huge impact on their choices, from financial decisions to clothing choices to food and beverage options. Forbes notes that Gen Z’s strong presence on social media shows a preference for influencer recommendations over traditional advertising—making tailored influencer marketing essential for any retailer, including beverage, to engage this demographic effectively across platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. According to The International Food Information Council (IFIC), 41% of consumers said they have interacted with social media content on food in the past year, but the percentage was much higher among Gen Z at 71%. To reach Gen Z, brands need to know how to leverage these platforms with the right messaging with themes that are important to Gen Z, like sustainability.


Choosing Sustainability in the Marketplace

Sustainability of all product choices is top of mind for Gen Z, and beverage is no exception. The article “Why Gen Z Is Driving Food and Beverage Brands to Become More Sustainable” from Food Industry Executive talks about how Gen Z supports and prioritizes sustainable beverage brands due to their firsthand experiences with climate change and the pandemic. Gen Z’s preferences in this area (and beyond) are reshaping the industry, leading to innovations in healthy and sustainable options that appeal to a broader market. To learn more about how a brand’s sustainability practices influence shopper behavior, you can grab a copy of our white paper, “How Your Brand’s Sustainable Practices Are Impacting Shopper Behavior.


Gen Z Opting for Healthy Beverage Choices

Gen Zers focus on staying healthy by exercising and eating well, according to Food & Beverage Insider. This might explain why they’re increasingly choosing nonalcoholic drinks to avoid feeling bad or having long-term health issues. This shift in drinking habits is blurring the line between alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Beverages with functional benefits will also appeal to this health-conscious generation. Our white paper, “To Drink…or to drink differently,” explores how health concerns are impacting beverage choice. 


The Concept of Neo-Hedonism

Aligning with sustainability and health is the “pursuit of experience.” On LinkedIn, mixologist Kirk Reynolds claims that Gen Z’s beverage choices are shaped through a movement called neo-hedonism—all about finding joy in mindful and inclusive drinking. He says in “Gen Z and the Future of Drinking: Embracing Inclusive Neo-Hedonism” that Gen Z values beverages that dovetail with their beliefs in health and sustainability—and they prioritize quality over quantity. This rising influence could be leading to a more inclusive and conscious drinking culture overall, beyond Gen Z.


Brand Transparency and Gen Z

When it comes to choosing beverage products, Gen Z values brand transparency. They opt for brands that align with their beliefs, support sustainability and contribute positively to the world. And this desire for transparency extends to beverage product ingredients, and packaging claims. It is vital to understand through the right market research approaches—like PackPulse™ or ResponseCash® PFU—how to communicate on product packaging in the right way for Gen Z. Brands must maintain authenticity and consistency in their communications to capture attention, generate purchase and consumer loyalty.

Generation Z’s influence on beverage culture is undeniable. Their values, preferences, and purchasing habits are reshaping the industry, driving brands to innovate and adapt. As marketers and businesses continue to navigate this ever-changing landscape, understanding and catering to the needs of Gen Z will be crucial for success in the future. Reach out to us to learn more!