Nielsen study shows generations place more emphasis on health and sustainability in food purchases and will pay accordingly.

Younger generations place more emphasis on health and sustainability in food purchases, and are willing to put their money where their mouth is, according to a recent Nielsen study.

The study found that 31% of Gen Z (and 29% of Millennials) were willing to pay a premium for healthy foods, compared with 23% of Boomers and 15% of the Silent Generation. The study ranked 27 health attributes from gluten content to sustainably sourced ingredients.

Gen Z food

This shift is something JWTIntelligence has been tracking among younger consumers for some time. In our global survey late last year, 71% of U.S. Millennials said they would be willing to pay 10-20% more for food items that were produced with a lower-than-average impact on the environment. (Results were even higher in other regions; 94% of Thai Millennials said the same.)

As these young consumers come of age, brands will need to rethink their approach and be entirely transparent about their practices, as Mark Driscoll, head of food at Forum for the Future told us: “[Sustainability and food waste] are the kinds of issues businesses will increasingly be looking at, because there could be a significant brand reputation at risk if they don’t.”

Be warned.