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How Gen Z is transforming the Food & Beverage market

How Gen Z is Shaping the Food & Beverage Market

The food and beverage market is evolving towards increasingly healthy, sustainable, and inclusive consumption trends, with alcohol-free drinks, creative mocktails, and flavored hard seltzers gaining popularity among the entire Gen Z generation.


But who is Gen Z? And why are they so significant in today’s consumption landscape? Let’s explore this together in this article.

Gen Z, the Next-Generation Consumers

Generation Z refers to young people born between 1997 and 2012. They are digital natives who have grown up in the internet age, with computers, smartphones, and tablets at their disposal from a young age, now representing one-third of the global population.


Super smart, hyper-connected, and naturally social-addected, they are constantly seeking information and experiences to live and share. Their consumption choices are significantly influencing the market and setting trends that are here to stay.

Health, experimentation, experience, and socialization – these are what Gen Z seeks

Gen Z is very mindful of choosing products that align with their values and prefers experiential consumption opportunities that satisfy their desire for experimentation and their need for social interaction.

In the international food and beverage market, clear consumption trends are emerging in response to the needs and tastes of the new generations. Here are the key ones:

Health and Well-being

Gen Z considers health and well-being a top priority. In their consumption choices, they seek holistic pleasure that nourishes both body and mind. They prefer low-calorie beverages, free from added sugars, composed of natural and healthy ingredients such as fresh fruit, probiotics, and energizing substances.


Awareness leads young people to be highly sensitive to sustainability. Therefore, they increasingly choose local, natural, and organic ingredients, sustainable packaging, and quality products. These are obtained from controlled supply chains and responsible farming practices.

Awareness leads young people to be very sensitive to the topic of sustainability.

(Source: Alixpartners survey)

Plant-Based Beverages and Plant-Based Products

Plant-based beverages and plant-based products have become a major trend that is gaining popularity among Millennials and Gen Z, driven not only by the choice of a healthy lifestyle but also by the increasingly common issue of food intolerances.

Healthy drinks such as juices, smoothies, fruit-based mocktails, almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and new offerings of vegan ice cream have now become part of the consumption habits of the younger population.

Alcohol-Free Drinks for Sober Experiences

The consumption of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beverages is on the rise, including virgin cocktails and functional drinks, in response to Gen Z’s heightened focus on health and well-being.

The rise of mocktails, a term derived from the combination of “mock” (imitation) and “cocktail,” has led professional bartenders to introduce innovative alcohol-free drinks to the market. These drinks are prepared with extracts and syrups made from fresh fruits, herbs, aromatic spices, tea, coffee, and premium ingredients. They provide multisensory taste experiences similar to traditional cocktails but without the effects of alcohol.

Innovation and Experimentation

Gen Z is constantly seeking new consumption opportunities that encourage experimentation with innovative and sophisticated flavors in drinks, satisfying both the body and the mind.

This has led to the widespread popularity of artisanal beverages, creative infusions with spicy flavors, and refreshing beverages with bold and robust tastes, featuring unusual ingredients such as seaweed, yerba mate, kombucha, lavender, and cucumber.

One such example is this super trendy recipe, which has quickly become a must-have drink among young generations worldwide.

Customization and Premium Ingredients

A trend sweeping through Gen Z is the art of crafting personalized drinks, creatively blending top-quality ingredients that impart unique flavors and unprecedented shades of color and texture to beverages, providing intense and refined tasting experiences.

Drinks like Bubble Tea, spicy cocktails, non-alcoholic spritz, and Sparkling Tea are among the most favored choices among young consumers who refuse to compromise on taste while adopting a healthy and responsible lifestyle.

A Flourishing Market for the Food Service Industry

The preferences of Gen Z will continue to influence the market and represent a valuable opportunity for brands and retailers aiming to attract young consumers with tailored offerings to meet the needs of an increasingly discerning segment, which seeks differentiation and personalization not only in product choices but also, and most importantly, in service.


In this scenario, SPM Drink Systems proves to be an excellent ally for all Ho.Re.Ca. channel operators.


Thanks to our extensive range of Cold Beverage Dispensers, Slush Machines, Cold Cream Machines, and Frozen Dessert equipment, we can provide the ideal equipment – in terms of size, functionality, convenience, and design – to meet any need and help you elevate your drinks to the next level.


Explore our range and choose the product that suits you best.

Whether you are an experienced professional or a novice bartender searching for new ideas and inspiration, you can find all the assistance you need from us in terms of recipes and product usage guides. Take advantage of all the potential your machine offers, prepare unforgettable drinks, and enrich your menu with delectable recipes and successful new offerings. Try it to believe it!

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Explore the world of SPM Drink Systems, a leader in designing and producing high-quality professional beverage equipment, committed to continuous innovation and fostering trustworthy relationships with customers globally. With decades of expertise, our CE-certified machines, manufactured in Spilamberto (MO), embody our dedication to quality, customer focus, and environmental responsibility, ensuring energy-saving and reduced CO2 emissions through exclusive innovations. Join us in a journey where quality, customer satisfaction, and sustainable practices brew together, crafting a future where our professional beverage solutions serve not just your needs, but the environment’s too.

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