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Gen Alpha set to make its mark on food & beverage in 2023

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The youngest population, Gen Alpha, is expected to be the most diverse and technologically adept generation yet—and they’re reaching the age of influence.

Millennials’ children—dubbed Gen Alpha—are starting to reach their teenage years. That means more purchasing power and market influence, including in food and beverage.

Per Datassential’s 2023 FoodBytes report, more than one-third (35%) of restaurant operators said Gen Alpha is already important to their business. Datassential predicted the up-and-coming generation’s influence on food and beverage will only increase in the coming year.

“Gen Alpha is already impacting household purchases, while a new generation of kid influencers are using social media to drive trends well beyond their immediate friends and family … The oldest members of this generation are also starting to hit their teenage years, when they begin to start making purchasing decisions for themselves and developing their own preferences,” the report noted.

Members of Gen Alpha were born between 2010 and 2024, meaning the oldest of the group will be teenagers in 2023. It’s also the most technologically advanced generation. After all, Gen Alpha is no stranger to virtual learning, hyper-connectivity driven by social media and smartphones, and new tech platforms like virtual reality.

Plus, the report predicted that Gen Alpha will be the most diverse generation yet, with the majority of its growth coming from global population centers like China, Nigeria and India.

But when it comes to the food preferences of Gen Alpha, there’s much to learn.

“It's impossible to fully know what Gen Alpha will look like,” the report said, “but a picture will start coming into focus in 2023.”

In the meantime, understanding the factors that have shaped Gen Alpha’s views on food and beverage can help brands start developing the strategies they need to appeal to this emerging generation of purchasers, which is expected to number nearly 2 billion in population by 2025.

That puts Gen Alpha just behind Gen Z, which surpassed Millennials and Boomers in 2020 with a population size of 2.2 billion, the New York Post reported.

In the case of Gen Alpha, their Millennial parents are key in shaping their attitudes and preferences around food.

Most Gen Alpha are children to Millennials, which means their parents are likely self-proclaimed foodies who value clean ingredients lists, functional benefits and convenience. Millennials, for example, tend to buy more organic and locally sourced foods for their families, but they spend 30 minutes or less making a meal. Millennials are also more likely to value functional benefits in their food and beverage products compared to other generations.

“At the same time, their Millennial parents are raising them on the same nostalgic brands that they grew up with and reminisce about on social media,” the report said.

Gen Alpha youngsters may face unique challenges as they age, the report indicated, such as caring for aging parents and navigating concerns about climate.

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