Gen Z and the food industry

While Millennials have been the generation to monitor and analyse, Gen Z-ers are increasingly becoming a force to reckon with. While this generation is considered a true digital native, research on their characteristics and behaviour have demonstrated the need for brands to adapt to this increasingly informed, and resultant, demanding customer with a growing purchasing power.

Preferences in food consumption for this generation are already defining the fast-food industry, and in order to connect with these younger influencers, brands must understand their values and behaviour.

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Aligned to other research on this generation, while this group is more health conscious, innovation and diversity is an appreciated influence for these individuals. Also, almost 3 in 10 customers are more likely to engage with advertisements on social media, attesting to their true digital immersion.

In envisaging potential future trends, we look at the Fast-Food brands that performed the strongest for the Gen Z generation in terms of recommendation in 2021.

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While McDonalds is the most recommended brand for Gen Z in 2021, Famous brands’ Debonairs, Steers and Mugg n Bean also feature. Interestingly, with a need for quick and satisfying food, along with Covid-19 being rampant globally, UberEats features as the 8th most recommended brand for Fast Food, validating the need for brands to capitilize on this need for quick, innovative dining experiences that provide convenience and satisfaction at their customers fingertips.


Methodology and study details:

BrandIndex:  the real-time & continuous monitoring tool for brands and all the speeches dedicated to them. In South Africa, more than 100 brands are assessed on a daily basis via our panel of approximately 30 000 respondents.


Recommendation: Which of the following retailers would you RECOMMEND to a friend or colleague?

And which of the following retailers would you tell a friend or colleague to avoid?


Population:  South African adults with access to the internet aged from 18 to 21 years old

Period:  from 01 January 2021 to 1st December 2021

N ~ 1 342


Profiles:  segmentation and media planning YouGov tool. Data is collected daily and YouGov Profiles makes it simple to find and understand the audience that matters most to you. It gives you the power to build and customize a portrait of your consumers’ entire world with unrivaled granularity.More than 9 000 variables are available in South Africa.


Dataset:  2021-12-05


Population:  South African adults with access to the internet aged from 18 to 21 years old

N ~ 972