Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation recently joined the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) whose mission is to help today’s food system build consumer trust. As CFI members, WFBF has access to the latest consumer trends and research to help guide WFBF communication efforts, especially in the consumer space.
CFI recently published a guide to engaging with Gen Z. This group of 13 to 26-year-olds make up 20% of the U.S. population and represents the fastest-growing economic power across all generations.
Gen Z is changing the face of the food industry by rewriting the narrative for transparency, connection and relevancy throughout the food chain. Their purchases are driven by values and they are constantly evaluating the long-term impact of their decisions.
You likely interact with a Gen Z in your daily life, whether it is your child, coworker, employee or friend. Here are five ways you can engage with Gen Z that will help you communicate with them and build better relationships.
Offer what they crave. Gen Z is building a better relationship with food by seeking out foods that increase energy, improve sleep and enhance their mental wellbeing. They are conscious of building a relationship with food free of stress and guilt.
Gen Z has a greater concern about the environmental impact of their food choices than any other generation. Data shows they believe in reducing their personal footprint by consuming less meat and buying local products.
Gen Z craves food choices that reflect their values. Food labels should be clear and easy to understand while communicating the values that Gen Z is looking for.
Use resources like gatherwisconsin.com to help Gen Z understand where their food comes from. Share resources on social media or create a video at your farm showcasing how you minimize your environmental impact and provide safe, wholesome food.
Highlight technology that resonates. Gen Z views technology and innovation as the solution to some of the most pressing challenges facing the world. They have been immersed in technology for as long as they can remember, and many do not remember a world without smartphones.
Find ways to communicate about the latest technology in agriculture and food production that will provide the taste, health, quality and sustainability attributes that appeal to Gen Z.
This consumer group values trusted third-party verification and accessible information. Something to consider for your farm or business as you look to engage Gen Z.
Focus on a cause. Gen Z is driven by social causes. More than any generation before them, Gen Z wants to support brands that align with their views. They prioritize worker safety and welfare, nutrition and health, environmental impact and animal wellbeing. Their purchase choices represent a personal expression of their values and beliefs.
Gen Z wants to know your commitments to sustainability and combating climate change. Amplify your principles and the causes you support and make sure your message is clear.
Meet them where they are. Gen Z demands transparency and the ability to engage. Gen Z is building connections with brands through social media. Seventy-nine percent of Gen Z consumers say they would make a purchase recommended by a social media influencer.
Create content on top Gen Z social channels like YouTube and TikTok. Use video as often as possible. Content should be authentic, transparent and engaging. Exclusive, authentic experiences help Gen Z connect with a brand or concept.
Engage in the workforce. Gen Z is changing workplace dynamics. Gen Z is cause-driven and wants to make a difference. Their expectations change the way employers recruit and retain Gen Z employees.
Empower Gen Z workers to have a voice and give them opportunities to grow through training and promotions. Take mental health seriously by valuing employee wellbeing and offering resources. Gen Z craves a healthy work/life balance and values flexible work schedules.
Gen Z is arriving in the marketplace and workforce with a unique set of values and demands. We are at the doorstep of an opportunity to engage and share how we are meeting these values and demands in agriculture. How can you use these tools to engage with the Gen Z in your life?
Rachel Gerbitz is WFBF’s Director of Sustainability Communications and Partnerships. In this role, Gerbitz oversees the organization’s sustainability communication efforts. Column originally appeared in the August | September 2023 Rural Route.